“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:31-33.
The Lord paints for us a solemn picture of His Second Coming. It is not a time to make decisions then, of where we want to be. Jesus knows which of us are sheep and which are goats. The difference is not seen in our church attendance, neither are we divided according to our lifestyles. We are separated according to what we have done to the least of His brethren. They were hungry and thirsty, but the sheep ministered unto them. Some were sick in hospital, others were strangers in the land. There were even those who spent time in prison, but the sheep visited them.
Their Christianity cost them something, and they didn't even stop to count the cost.
The sheep are compassionate and merciful. They don’t think of the cost of servanthood but they simply do what is necessary. Yes friends, the sheep are hard workers; they use their God-given talents to relieve the suffering and spend time with the forgotten and lonely. Their Christianity cost them something, and they didn’t even stop to count the cost. Helping the people whom God put on this earth was like second nature to them. It didn’t even matter whether the people in need were natives of the land, or whether they came by plane or by boat. The sheep did not discriminate between the different races, but helped those in need.
The sheep were judged by their peers as backward. After all, what did they have to show for all their hard work. They only managed to live in a modest home, one without the expected luxuries in life. Perhaps they were too busy with the marginalised, to ‘get a life.’ No wonder they never saved much money, because they spent it on so many different charities. One could think, ‘when their retirement comes, they’d be penniless,’ but no, Someone greater than themselves cares for them.
Friends, I know what the Lord will say to these sheep. “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:4. All their compassion and self-sacrifice, their wanting to help, even if it cost them something, has been seen by their heavenly Father, and been rewarded.
But what about the goats, those who have had the right profession but been lacking in deeds of kindness and benevolence? Those who were rich in houses and lands, in stocks and shares but did not love their neighbours as themselves. Their neighbours went to the grave without knowing Jesus, because they did not support the Mission of the church. Some of their fellowmen starved to death because the goats didn’t help in time of great need. When the Lord asks me, “What have you done with my talents?” What will I say?
To try and put priorities where they belong is a hard and often unpopular task. We can be so busy making money—but for what purpose do we accumulate? Have we not learned that our assets keep us tied down to this earth? You realise but your assets, if not used to God’s honour and glory, will make sure that you stay right here with them. Friends, it is time to cut yourself loose. Be free to leave this world behind.
The work will be finished with the same self-sacrificing spirit, in which it was started. Are you, am I, going to be part of it?
Pastor Wolfgang Jenke is pastor of the Atherton, Ravenshoe and Malanda churches, Queensland.