Matthew 25:34-36, “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.'”
The world thinks God is absent or indifferent about our suffering since He does not make it all go away with a snap of His finger. They do not consider three realities: 1) that we deserve suffering, 2) that God has already done away with all suffering in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ His Son on the cross, and 3) that as stewards of God’s creation, God is present in and through us as we care for people and the rest of His creation. It is this third reality Jesus emphasises in His words here. We know we are Christians because Christ will give us His inheritance of God’s kingdom. As citizens of God’s kingdom, He acts in and through us. In the words of the Lutheran Confessions, “Because the Holy Spirit is given through faith, the heart is moved to do good works” (AC XX, 27-29).
The Christian, because he has been given the Holy Spirit through faith, cannot help but do good works out of love and compassion for others just as he, because he’s a human being, cannot help but breathe to live. God has made mankind stewards—caretakers—of creation since the beginning. Although our stewardship has been perverted since the Rebellion, it is not totally gone. God still cares for His creation, and the less fortunate, in both ways we cannot see and in ways we can see. We see God’s care for creation in His stewards. When a poor person is given food, beverage, and clothes, it is God. When a creature is saved from a burning fire, injury, illness, or some other accident, it is God. When we visit the sick, it is God. When we sit with or invite a person who is by himself, it is God. When a country goes to war to save people or stop an evil, it is God.
Only God is good, the Scriptures constantly say. Thus, any good we see can only come from God. He can even use evil to His own good means. This does not mean God causes evil, but that He has all power over it. For we see this with Job. The Devil could only do what God permitted, and He used the Devil to thwart his evil plans. Unbelievers hate this, but it is a great comfort to know that God, indeed, is in control of everything. Yes, every evil we see is permitted by Him. Why? Only God knows. Yet He nevertheless sends His stewards to show His good, love, and mercy, for unless we repent, we, too, shall perish (cf. Luke 13:1-5).
What we do unto these strangers, Christ says we have done unto Him. This can be a great good or a great evil! The former is obvious. If we have given food to a stranger, it is as if we gave food to Christ when He had none. Imagine the opposite. When we murder, it is as if we murdered Christ Himself (for indeed we all have when He was on the cross). When we slander a person, it is as if we slandered Christ Himself. When we abort an infant, it is as if we aborted the infant Jesus! Woe to we who commit such evils! We ought to approach all with humility, and when we don’t, let us repent to each other and to God, for He finds our sins offensive.