Then shall He answer them, saying,
"Truly I say unto you, Inasmuch as
you did it not to the least of these,
you did it not to me." Matt. 25:45
Millions of people the whole world over loved Princess Diana. She was beautiful; her clothes and jewels were gorgeous and she modeled them to perfection; she was married to a real-life Prince and lived in real-life castles; she gave birth to two beautiful children who would be in line to inherit the throne of one of the world's super powers. She was the most sought after, glittering member of the "jet set", who partied with the world's most beautiful people. She was kind, and truly cared about others less fortunate than herself. She was, in fact, a fairy tale come to life. Her tragic death at such a young age had the entire world mourning as it had not mourned since the death of President John F. Kennedy over thirty years before.
We are all fascinated to some extent by royalty, and by the lifes and lifestyles of the rich and beautiful and famous. Yes, it's easy to love a person like Princess Diana. But others aren't so easy to love. What about those teenage hooligans that hang out in the mall and on the street corners? You know the ones, with their pierced noses and eyebrows and cheeks and tongues; the ones with the tattooed arms and spiked haircuts; the ones who scare you half to death when they look at you. Do we love them? Jesus does.
Or what about those skid-row bums? Those homeless, hungover, unshaven, dirty, smelly drunkards who may have been a self-sufficient part of the work force at one time, but whose life-long drunkeness has turned them into derelicts, wanting nothing more than a handout to buy another drink. Do we love people like them? Jesus loves them.
What about those people in mental hospitals all over this country; people whose poor deluded brains make them paranoid, uncooperative troublemakers who cannot function in society. People who are sometimes suicidal, who can't make it through a single day without medication to calm their fears and reduce their anxieties. Do we love those people? Jesus does.
It's very easy to love the rich, the beautiful, the famous. But the Bible clearly teaches that to treat them better than we treat others is wrong. The way we treat the poor, the lowly outcasts of society, the unloving and the unloveable, is a true test of how much we love the Lord. Jesus loved all of them, and wants us to love all of them as well. The Bible says:
For if there comes unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in costly apparel, and there comes in also a poor man, in vile rainment, and you show respect to him that wears the good clothing, saying to him "Sit here in a good place" while you say to the poor "Stand there, or sit here under my footstool" are you not then showing partiality, and are become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:2-4)
Jesus himself was a great example for us. He didn't seek out the rich and famous --- he sought out the publicans and sinners, the outcasts of society. He treated the lowliest and poorest as if they were as worthy as the wealthiest and highest class of society. He treated them all with love and compassion, regardless of their apparent lack of worth in the world's eyes. They were worth a lot to Him: in fact, He died for them. He died as much for them as for anyone. He died for them as much as He did for you, or for me. Jesus even took a dirty thief to Paradise with Him, because the thief believed in Him. Now that's love!
We should all follow our Lord's example. We shouldn't have the idea that wealth or fancy clothes or a fancy car or a fancy degree make a person more worthwhile than someone without those things. We shouldn't extend God's love only to others like ourselves, ones we consider "socially acceptable". We have to also show the same love to those who make us uncomfortable; those who aren't rich or beautiful or famous. Those who are the lowest dregs of our society, who have nothing to recommend them except for this one inescapable fact: Jesus Christ died for them.The Bible tells us:
If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself", you do well. But if you show partiality to some persons, you commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:8-10)
Jesus taught His followers not to place any importance on worldly wealth and fame. He said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24) Wherever He went, Jesus showed love to the misfits and outcasts of society; He sought the lost, wherever they were. We can do no less if we truly want to be like Jesus. Let's be sure that we extend the love of God to ALL people.
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