Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Playing Nice Pays

Meditation for the week of July 22, 2012

And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

This world is filled with hate and prejudice.  Competition instead of cooperation is often the name of the game.  Friends are courted based on social status and based on whether they are good networking contacts.   Because people are so success oriented, people tell me that it is hard to know if you have any true friends if it is known that you are successful.  When a child doesn’t “fit in” at school they can be bullied.  When people come from certain ethnic backgrounds, it is not uncommon for them to be hated, ostracized and persecuted.

There is coming a day when one of the most despised groups on this earth will be terribly persecuted once again.  They are the Jewish people.  There are other groups that have also been persecuted and mistreated but for some reason the Jewish people are usually treated with a measure of disdain.  Some say that it is because they crucified the Lord.  While they did, so did the Romans and the Greeks and by extension, all of us.  BUT OF COURSE THE JEWS SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.  When the tribulation period comes these people will need help and there will be those who will have a heart of compassion toward them.  They will protect them.  I suspect that the ones who will be most persecuted are those who are believers in the fact that Jesus Christ was their Messiah.  They will turn away from the political leader that the world will be following.  This leader is Antichrist.

During the holocaust there were people who tried to protect the Jews.  During the years when we had slavery in this country, there were people who operated “underground railroads” to help free the slaves.  I wonder if these people who were showing compassion to “the least of these My brethren” realized that what they were doing, they were actually doing for the Lord.  While this passage is written primarily for those who protect Jewish believers, I believe that the principle applies to the compassion that we should be showing to all people, but particularly to those who are at the margin of society whether they are believers or not. 

The principle that we see in this passage is that the way the nations treat the persecuted believing Jews during the tribulation period is a measure of how they treat the Lord.  But I don’t think the principle is limited to this one situation.  Obviously, the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 showed this kind of compassion on a man who had been robbed and beaten.  The man was likely a Jew.  I think that whenever we do something to help or encourage someone that the Lord loves, the Lord takes note of that.  And my understanding is that the Lord loves every person that comes into this world.  When we help and encourage and protect, it blesses the person helped and it blesses the person doing the helping.  But the important thing is that the Lord is pleased.  I believe that the greatest blessing comes when the people doing the “saving” do it because they really want to help the individual.  They don’t do it for the Lord, they do it for the person.  But in doing it for that person, they end up doing it for the Lord.  Too many of our good works are done to get “points” in heaven.   That kind of good works come across very self-serving.   The best good works are done because we really want to bless the person we are helping. The Lord takes note of those kinds of good works.

In the past few days, I have been the recipient of the kind of good works I am talking about.  People went out of their way to do something special for me that they didn’t need to do.  They didn’t do it for the Lord, they did it for me.  They did it quietly so no one else really knows what they did.  I don’t think the people involved even knew how they had blessed me.  But I was blessed.  And while it is a stretch to say that I am “one of the least of these my brethren,” I am sure that the Lord was pleased with the encouragement that this old preacher got from some rather special kindnesses shown to him by some rather special Christians in the last few days.

It is time for me to spread some of that blessing around myself.  If we would all do this, maybe we could encourage people to cooperate instead of compete, to love instead of hate.   Maybe we could help put a stop to bullying and to the ostracizing of those “who don’t fit in.”

Bruce Collins

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