“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’” (Matthew 25:41-43)
Did you know that it’s possible to spend your whole life doing religious things like attending church, reading your bible, and praying AND miss God completely in the midst of all of that activity? I think one of the most startling thoughts to me is that there are people who spend their lives practicing religion but end up missing God in the end. How does it happen?
I’m not sure I have the absolute final answer, but it seems that there is a temptation to be more concerned with following the rules we think God makes over learning to follow the two greatest commandments: loving God and loving others. Jesus said that there will be people who are confused why they aren’t ushered into heaven on the Day of Judgment, and the reason why they won’t be welcomed is because their love for others never existed.
Though loving others may seem irrelevant to loving God, such is not really the case. Consider the words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son…” A proper love of God can’t exclude a love for God’s people because a love for people is part of the heartbeat of God; the two are inextricably linked. When you truly come to grips with the compassion God has on your life, you can’t respond in any other way but to show compassion to others. And likewise, a lack of compassion on your part reveals a lack of acceptance of God’s compassion towards you.
Father, I want to be a compassionate person because I know that You are a compassionate God. Out of gratitude for the compassion that You’ve shown me, please help me to show it to others. Let me seek to put the needs of others at the forefront of my thoughts so that You may be pleased in me.