We invite you to take a peek inside our Light for the Way devotional series. Each week we provide staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Programming
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you gave me care.’” — Matthew 25:34-36a
These words come from the last parable that Jesus tells in the Gospel of Matthew. He has already had his triumphant march into Jerusalem. He has already clashed with the religious leaders. He has already predicted his own death and resurrection. And the very last story he tells his followers is the Judgment of the Nations, more commonly known as "The Sheep and the Goats."
You might know it: the Son of Man comes at the end of time to judge the nations. He puts some people at his right, the "sheep," and some at his left, the "goats." To the sheep he offers entrance into his kingdom; the goats he condemns to eternal punishment. The deciding factor: whether they had fed him, housed him, clothed him and cared for him when he was in need. And when both sides object that they would have remembered seeing the Son of Man in need, Jesus reveals the meaning of the tale: "Whatever you did for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did for me."
This is a straightforward reminder for us that our Christian mission has love at its heart. That we are called to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and care for the sick, all of which we literally do as a company every day. But it’s also one of the few times in the gospels that Jesus is identified not as the one who loves, but as the one who needs love. That when we walk into a room to care for a resident, yes, we are being Christlike. Yes, we are loving as he first loved us. But we are also encountering Jesus in the person who needs our help.
It is very much in our common calling at PHS to be the loving helper. It’s also okay, even Christlike, to need help. If right now, the stress of all the added tasks and needs of COVID feel like too much, that’s all right. Reaching out doesn’t make you less than you should be. In fact, it makes you like the best person who ever lived.
You have a team working with you that wants to hold you up, support you, and get you through the rough times that we’re all facing. This week, I urge you to let them. After all: whatever your PHS family does for you, they do for the Lord who loves you.
More selected readings in the Light for the Way series:
'I am because we are'
Setting aside our differences
Living in the unknown — finding hope in the future
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website.