Sheep and Goats
American Christian churches are usually very congregation-focused. But the "body" as taught and demonstrated in scripture is concentric circles of influence. There are commitments to a small circle of Christian friends, a congregation, the body in the community and region, and the body throughout the world.
In Matthew 25:31-46 is a rather sobering message regarding sheep and goats. This passage immediately follows a message about those who fail to use and invest their God-given talents wisely.
In the sheep and goats message, Jesus talks about the people of the world facing judgment and separated out as sheep (followers of the Shepherd Jesus) and goats (those who are not followers). The criteria for judging is how the person responded to needs of Christ's body, the church.
People who ignore needs in the body, Jesus' body, are sent to hell. Jesus said it - not me. So I think it is important to be aware of needs and respond when we can, including the body outside our local congregation. That passage of scripture is seldom talked about. Helping any person is an honorable thing to do. But it is important to note that Jesus is talking about his body, not the needs of the general population.
I think it is important for Christians to be aware of needs in other parts of the body (their own body) so they can at least consider responding. People will not respond until they are aware of a need. May God help us be better at publicizing and responding to regional needs of the body.
Copyright © 2006 Ronald G. Hedberg. All rights reserved.