I recently read an article in the Baylor student newspaper where a student attempted to describe her political views by saying that she lined up with the conservative mindset on fundamentals but admired the liberal passion for equality. She said that she found it difficult to see how the “least of these” could survive without the assistance of state aid. While I agree with the sentiment of her description, I was surprised at the use of “least of these” in reference to the need for government aid.
The phrase “least of these” comes from Matthew 25:40. Jesus told the parable of the sheep and goats- comparing how God will one day judge us all like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Jesus says:
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 needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?’. . .”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.’
-Matthew 25:35-37, 40
When I read this passage, I don’t hear Jesus screaming for more government welfare and aid programs to feed the hungry and the thirsty. Jesus is not calling for big government. He’s not talking about government at all! Christ is imploring you and I to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned. This is a command decreeing that God will hold us accountable for things we did for others. As believers we should be seeking ways to care for the least of these. I strongly believe Jesus would not be satisfied with American Christians for leaning on the Government to care for these individuals.
I really think it’s time that Americans have a mind shift- especially believers in America. We need to stop looking for others to fix the problems of the least of these, but have a little faith that God might be calling us to do it!