Sunday, July 13th, 2014
Valiant! Like David (Part 16)
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His Right Hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His Right Hand, 'Come, you blessed of 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 took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 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 25:31-40 (NKJV)
Two days before the Last Supper, Jesus told His last story: the Parable of the Talents.* Immediately following, He described Judgment Day: God's division of the sheep from the goats. He focused on one criterion for success. It's simple. It's essential. It's mercy.
'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Matthew 5:7).
Consider the Parable of the Good Samaritan--where a stranger's compassion exceeded the compassion of 'holy' men. Consider the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant--where the master removes his mercy from a servant who shows no mercy.**
Mercy is 'compassion for the miserable' (Easton's Bible Dictionary). Mercy is 'kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation' (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Mercy is 'kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power' (Random House Dictionary).
Mercy is love when it's hard or inconvenient. Mercy is forgiveness when it seems wrong or unwarranted. Mercy is visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, inviting the outcast and befriending the unpopular.
Mercy is like a fruit tree. It's extraordinary and unusual. Its branches are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The world cannot understand how it grew--or how it produces such fruit. Even so, no one can argue its benefit.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: love the unloveable. You'll meet lots of them in the field of entertainment. If your religious friends ask you why you've chosen this path, here's a good answer:
'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance' (Matthew 9:12-13).***
To Be Continued...
* The Parable of the Talents: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=NKJV
** The Parable of the Good Samaritan: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37
** The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18:21-35
** Consider also the Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servant: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24%3A45-51&version=NKJV
** Consider also the Parable of the Prodigal Son: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32&version=NASB
*** 'Whirled from off our feet by a revival, carried aloft by popularity, exalted by success in soul-winning, we should be as the chaff which the wind driveth away, were it not that the gracious discipline of mercy breaks the ships of our vainglory with a strong east wind, and casts us shipwrecked, naked and forlorn, upon the Rock of Ages.' (Charles Spurgeon).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Valiant! Like David series.