I’m a 100% saved-by-grace-through-faith-and-not-by-works person, but sometimes Matthew 25 makes me a little nervous.
So, what’s in this scary chapter anyway?
Because it’s a lengthy passage, I’ll summarize some of it.
Imagine knowing for all eternity that you sent Jesus out to sleep with the cows and sheep
.Verse 31 talks about the Son of man returning and gathering all nations to be judged (not anyone’s favorite subject). He sets up two lines: one on the right for the sheep, and one on the left for the goats.
Now, you may not like being categorized as either one of these creatures. Goats eat disgusting things, and sheep are not too bright. They’re pretty much lamb chops without a shepherd. But if you’re a believer you’re a sheep. You didn’t become a sheep by learning to bleat or putting on a wool coat. You were born-again that way. The problem is–sometimes sheep act like goats.
Back to Matthew.
So, the King says for the guys on the right to come and inherit the kingdom that’s been prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
He proceeds to tell them that He was hungry and they gave Him food. He was thirsty and they gave Him drink, and here’s the one that we’re interested in today: He was a stranger and they took Him in. And the list goes on: naked, sick, in prison—you get the picture.
Well, by now, these guys are shaking their heads because they know who Jesus is, and they know they haven’t done any of these things for Him.
He’s got them mixed up with someone else! How embarrassing. Do they tell Him and get moved over to the “left hand” lane? Things don’t seem to be going so well on that side.
Well, their conscience gets the best of them, and they tell Jesus there’s been a case of mistaken identity.
Matt 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in?
But here’s the kicker. Jesus tells them something shocking.
Matt 25:40 . . . Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Really? That’s good news. Isn’t it?
The scripture goes on in reverse. Here’s what the goats got.
I was hungry and you didn’t feed me, thirsty and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t take me in.
The lefties plead their case.
Matt 25:44 “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?”
Now you can see why Matthew 25 makes me a little nervous. Oh, I know our good works don’t get us into heaven—but this scripture always makes me aware that sometimes I act more like a goat than a sheep. My life revolves around me and mine, and sometimes I just don’t want to be bothered with reaching out to others.
Do you remember when Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem? Nobody had room. I often think about that innkeeper. I bet he wishes he’d slept in the hay and given Mary his own bed. Imagine knowing for all eternity that you sent Jesus out to sleep with the cows and sheep.
Soooo, I guess you’ve noticed this is not a site about putting on fancy dinner parties. It is, however, a site about opening our hearts and homes to God’s people, because when we entertain the least of Jesus’ brethren, we entertain Him.
What makes me an expert on this subject?
But I was married to a pastor for forty years, and our house was always full: sometimes with visiting preachers, sometimes with friends (or acquaintances that became friends), and sometimes with total strangers my husband brought home off the street. Now I’m not even suggesting you should do that. But let’s see if we can at least make a move toward the biblical principles of hospitality.
At the end of every chapter, you’ll find fields to click on:
First, you’ll find a short version of one of the many hilarious situations we incurred hosting people in our home, or staying in theirs. Find out in today’s story why a visiting preacher told everyone to bring a padlock for the bedroom when they came to our house.
Second, you’ll find a complete meal plan for feeding guests, including menus and recipes. If you’re going to entertain people you have to feed them.
Third, you’ll find a helpful hint for entertaining in your home.
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