Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:31-46).
All of a sudden, I realized what God was trying to tell me.
My children were “the least of these”—not because they are worthless, but because children are the least able to help themselves and the least able to adequately repay what you do for them. And Jesus said that whatever I do for the least of these, I do for Him.
He didn’t say, “Whatever you do for the least of these, I appreciate it.” Nor did He say, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you earn a gold star on your heavenly chart.” No, He said that whatever I do for the least of these, it’s the exact same thing as doing it directly for Him.
Wow! So if that’s true (and because Jesus said it and it’s recorded in the Bible, we know that it is true), then what I do has incredible significance!
Everything I do for my children, even the little, mundane “nothing” tasks I do as a mom, I do for Jesus! And if that’s true . . . well, then today I fed Him. I clothed Him. I took care of Him. Not, “I took care of my kids on His behalf,” but, “I took care of Him.”
I wrote a poem at the time to try to capture the beautiful truth God had shown me. Although I’m a writer, I’m not usually a poet, but I simply wanted to get down on paper what I had learned. I never realized that anyone beyond my husband and perhaps my small group at church would ever hear the poem, much less love it. But God sent it out all over the world, making something of it far beyond what I expected. I think its truth will resonate with you as well.
I started my day early,
Before the room was light.
I lifted my son from his crib
And wished it was still night.
But as I held him close and said,
“Hi, Kenneth, precious one,”
I knew that as I greeted him,
I greeted too God’s Son.
When my daughter woke up later,
Calling, “Mommy! Mommy! Down!”
I picked her up and hugged her
In her worn Elmo nightgown.
I know she felt the closeness
That a mother’s touch affords.
I welcomed not just Ellie,
But so, too, the Lord of lords.
That day, I mixed some formula
And opened jars of peas.
I fixed some “pizza butter” bread
When she grinned and said, “Pleeeeease.”
I heated up some leftovers;
I had to nuke them twice.
And when I fed my children,
I was feeding Jesus Christ.