[Talking about the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus continued:] "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'
"Then they will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?
"And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'
"And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."
— Matthew 25:41-46 NLT
Imagine if we viewed every person we met, especially every believer, as if he or she is the very presence of Christ! How much kinder would we be? How much more welcoming would we be to the visitor or the desperate in our church services? How much more attentive would we be to their aches, pains, difficulties, and hardships? How much more careful would we be to not say anything insensitive or uncaring?
Jesus reminds us that this is precisely the case. But he goes one step further. He also reminds us that those who are mean and cruel and hard on others will face ultimate hardship. He reminds us that the ultimate justice is not going to be seen this side of eternity. But when he comes, each will be blessed according to his or her service to him. And, of course, service to him is serving his people!
Holy Father, thank you for your children of every language, nation, culture, and tribe. Help me to value them all as you do. In particular, help me to see every believer as the very presence of Christ and treat each one with the same dignity with which I would treat Christ. Sweep through your church with the Holy Spirit, pouring out love in powerful ways so that we may more perfectly reflect your desire to bless and grace each other. In Jesus' precious name, I pray. Amen.