When Jesus returns with tens of thousands of angels on every side, He’ll take His rightful place in the universe on the only throne that matters. Everyone who has ever lived will be present, waiting to discover their forever fate. As shepherds divides their flocks, He will put them into two groups because there’s no such thing as partial followers; we’re either all in or not. Then the King will gather His people on the right, while those who have taken their own path will be set aside to the left.
Then He will say to those on His right: “My children, it is time to enter into the eternal experience that you have been waiting for. I hope you love what I’ve prepared for you even before your world existed. You didn’t earn this—I’m giving it to you because I love you more than you could possibly imagine. But you made the decision to love Me back, proving it by the way you treated Me when I needed you most.”
“You backed up your belief with actions, proving that it wasn’t just lip service.”
I was sitting on the side of the road in the same clothes I’d been wearing for weeks. My hair was matted and I smelled worse than I looked. But you stopped to see if I needed anything. I was scared to admit it, but I hadn’t eaten for days. Even though you had an appointment to get to, you went across the street to bring Me a hot meal and a cold drink. That act restored My faith in humanity.
I’d been laying in the same spot for weeks—in My only moderately comfortable nursing home bed. Every day was the same, especially since we couldn’t have visitors because of the pandemic. Even though you couldn’t visit Me in person, you FaceTimed Me three days a week, just to talk. Those talks kept Me going; they kept Me alive.
I’d had a rough life, but that doesn’t excuse what I did. I know I should be in prison—so here I am rotting away. It’s exactly what I deserve, but that doesn’t make it any easier. But you came to visit Me even though we’d never met. It didn’t matter that our backgrounds—and skin color—couldn’t have been more different. You were there when everyone else had written Me off. If it wasn’t for you, I probably would have ended it a long time ago.
“So, My friends, here we are today. You backed up your belief with actions, proving that it wasn’t just lip service.” His followers are hesitant to question their Maker, but unable to suppress their confusion:
“What are you talking about? We don’t remember You being hungry, sick, or imprisoned. You weren’t even on earth when we were alive.”
Then, the King will deliver the punchline: “You’re right; it wasn’t Me. But when you saw a human being that needed help you didn’t say it wasn’t your responsibility, make excuses to justify your actions, or claim that someone else would step in. Instead, you acted—and I count it just the same as if you were doing it for Me.”
Jimmy Phillips is network marketing director for Kettering Health Network.