"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothed me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they will also answer, saying, '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?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
I wanted you to read this text again, as it really strikes deep in my heart and I hope it does yours as well. This is our call as true believers in Christ- to reflect the love of Jesus by providing the needs of others. Obviously you should provide first for your own household, but you should make room to provide for the needs of people that God places in your path. In Leviticus 23:22 it says this: "And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and the sojourner: I am the LORD your God." Today we can put this into practice by not using up our entire paychecks, but putting some aside to provide for needs that the Lord shows to you. I know, life is hard, and money doesn't seem to stretch as far as it should- but then think about the people who have less than you do! Think of how far their money goes. We are always comparing ourselves and trying to level with the people who are one financial bracket above us instead of realizing how much we do have, and providing for those less fortunate. This is a very selfless thing to do, so if you have any pride or bad attitude about this, I would encourage you to pray for selflessness. If your belongings or money mean so much to you that you are not willing to give up some of your extra, or even sacrifice some of your own wants, for the hungry, thirsty, naked- then you might just be a goat that Jesus will separate from His righteous children. It also could be that you need to pray and ask God to change this part of your heart that is unwilling to sacrifice or give. In all honesty, I used to be a very selfish person- still can be at times- but God has really pruned me in this area specifically. I think the turning point for me was my trip to Haiti. Seeing the joy people has out there with nothing, and seeing how discontent I was with so much. My heart was chasing after the things of this world that look pleasing to the eye, but they are very displeasing to the heart. Now I can honestly say that I have sacrificed in a small way things or money when I've seen a need. And to be even more honest, the giving does a lot more in me than it does to the person who receives it.
I'm not saying you need to take a trip to a country like Haiti to prune this part of you out, but that's the way God started His work in me. Jesus does not want us to hold back when we face a need of somebody we know, especially in our own church family. But also what a great witness to a nonbeliever when we give up what the world tells us to hold on to so tightly! Maybe you don't have extra money and aren't comfortable with sacrifice, but what about the umpteen totes of clothes that you have that you hope to one day wear? Or the umpteen boxes of baby clothes that were given to you that you may never use again? Maybe you don't have any extra money because you own the latest iphone, have direct tv, own 3 vehicles, a motorcycle, a boat, etc., etc., etc.. I challenge you to ask Jesus, what can I give? What can I sacrifice in order that I'm able to give? Who can I provide for? Our salvation is not based on how many people we provide for, or how much money we give, but the result of a saved heart should be that of love, giving and sacrifice for others. Do you want to be on Jesus' left or right when He separates the people? Do you want to be a goat or a sheep?