“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
I have been thinking about that verse quite a bit today. Not so much in the sense of the poor and downtrodden, which is obviously the main ones Jesus is talking about here. But what if at one point I am the least of these. Or what if you are the least of these. How would you treat me? How would I treat you?
I’d like to think I would treat you with respect and dignity and be Jesus to you. The truth is that whatever I do or don’t do to you at that moment of your utmost weakness, I do to Jesus. It’s interesting that Jesus always identifies with the broken and downcast and outcasts rather than identifying with those who are socially acceptable (like I tend to do nearly all the time).
Am I ignoring Jesus in someone else because He doesn’t look or act like me? Am I brushing past Him when I walk past someone who is less polished and more socially awkward? If I am harsh and critical with myself when I am at my lowest ebb, what am I saying to Jesus? Whatever you and I did or didn’t do to the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you and I did or didn’t do to Jesus.
So treat everyone you meet like you would treat Jesus, all of us go through times in our lives when we can identify with the least of these through our brokenness and weakness. In the end, what will matter most will be what we did or didn’t do for the least of these, whether they were living in a cardboard box in the slums or in a mansion.