If we want to find out what God’s standard of judgment will be when we all stand before him, Jesus reveals that in Matthew 25:31-46. He will separate the people into two categories—the sheep and the goats. The following is just a portion of that passage:
“When the Son of Man shall come in all His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will take His seat upon the throne of His glory…Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, enter into possession of the Kingdom which has been prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you gathered me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you came to visit me; in prison, and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and nourish you? Or thirsty, and gave you to drink? When did we see you a stranger, and gather you to us? Or naked, and clothed you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘This is the truth I tell you—insomuch as you did it unto one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Jesus goes on to say in the rest of this passage that those who did not help when they saw others in need, “will go away into eternal punishment”. Jesus makes it very clear that God will judge us in accordance with our reaction to human need. His judgment does not depend on the knowledge we have amassed, or the fame we have acquired, or the fortune we have gained, but on the help we have given. Jesus requires that we help in the simple everyday things of life that any of us can do, such as giving a hungry man a meal, a thirsty man a drink, welcoming a stranger, cheering a sick person, or visiting those who are in prison.
Jesus also points out that the help which wins the approval of God is the help which is given for nothing but the sake of giving. Those who had helped their brothers were unaware that they had helped Jesus. Helping was a natural reaction of a loving heart. There are those who will help if they are given praise and thanks and publicity; but that kind of help is for show and to bring recognition to their own selfish egos.
The wonderful truth of this passage is that all help that is given to our brothers in need is help given to Jesus Himself. On the other hand, help that is withheld is also withheld from Jesus. If we really want to delight a parent and earn his gratitude, the best way to do that is to help his child. God is the great Father; and the way to delight the heart of God is to help His children, who are our fellow-men.
When we understand that we should help men in the simple things without recognition and praise being our motivation, but simply out of a loving heart, then we will truly know the joy of helping Jesus Christ Himself. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18