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Matthew 25:40 – 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." (NIV)
Every Christmas season, I treasure the wonderful carol, "Good King Wenceslas", written by a man named John Mason Neale in 1853. The song tells of the good king who ventured out into the bitter weather on the "Feast of Stephen" to take food and fuel to the poor. The Feast of Stephen was traditionally celebrated on the day after Christmas, December 26th.
King Wenceslas was a real person who lived in the tenth century. He ruled a part of what is today the Czech Republic and was legendary for his devotion to Christ and for his charity. At the end of the song, we are reminded that, like the good king, those who help others in reality bless themselves:
- Therefore, Christian men be sure,
Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.
Certainly it is not because of charitable works that we are provided salvation. It is only the sacrifice of Christ and the free grace of God that saves us. But clearly, Christ showed us the way not only to obtain eternal life in the next world but also what sort of life we should lead in this one. His was a life of perfect sacrifice for others.
In Matthew chapter 25, Christ tells us of the judgment day and how satisfied He will be with those who helped the hungry, poor, and needy in this life. To help others is to help Him! He expects us to help others in every season, but we often feel the message most strongly at Christmas. Our enthusiasm diminishes after the holiday. Like Wenceslas, let's resolve together to extend charitable works beyond Christmas to the entire year and to the rest of our lives. Let's ask God to guide us to a life of service.
Prayer: Please God, help us each to see the opportunities for service that You have in mind for us, and guide us to that work. Thank You for saving us. Amen.
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