Missing Out 2!!

(Written by Alan Akers)
Just days before he was crucified, Jesus gave his disciples a powerful description of the events that would take place on his return. It contains a real challenge for his disciples today.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Read the full account in Matthew 25:31-46)
Those on the king’s right expressed surprise; they were unaware of ever addressing his needs in such ways. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (vs. 40) Those on the king’s left heard a very different judgment. Their failure to respond with compassion to the needy around them was also taken personally and judged accordingly: ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ (vs. 41) Sobering words indeed!
Is Jesus teaching here salvation by works? How does this sit with Paul’s great statement on which we stand: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”? Ephesians 2:8, 9
Sheep and goats, while sharing many attributes in common, are also very different. The shepherd has no difficulty when it comes to identifying them. Sheep behave like sheep. Goats behave like goats. Christians behave like Jesus. We will be assessed (and ultimately separated) on the basis of our identity, not our good deeds (or failures in this area). Jesus and Paul are in complete agreement (no surprises here!).
Earlier this year, Loris and I were delighted when our first does delivered their baby goats. These little kids very quickly exhibited all the characteristics of goats! They were goats from the moment they were born. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again!” We do well to examine our attitudes and actions in the light of what Jesus teaches us here. Does my compassion for those in need around us testify to my new birth in Jesus?
PRAYER: Thank you Father for your grace, which “taught our hearts to fear” and then “our fears relieved.” Thank you for the new birth you promise, and then deliver, when we receive your gift by faith. Thank you for the potential you place within us to follow Jesus in the way we deal with others, especially those who find themselves in need.
Father we pray for the Wang Night Shelter; for those who currently need this service and for those who confirm their identity and fulfil their calling by serving there. Reveal to us, individually and collectively, others in need in these difficult times. It is our privilege to serve you by serving them; in your name. Amen
SONG: Change My Heart O God by Eddie Espinosa – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEtsHWFE6-w