Read Matthew 25:31-46

Have you ever heard the story of “The Prince and the Pauper?” It’s an old story about two boys who decide to switch places because they look alike. The prince begins to live the life of a regular ordinary kid, and he finds out some alarming things about his kingdom. Thanks to his “disguise,” he is treated like any other person would be treated. He sees what it is like in the real world. He finds out what happens when he isn’t sheltered by a royal seal. There are some people who are kind and decent, and then there are those who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to help someone in need. And when he goes back to being the king at the end of the story, he has some very interesting things to say to the people who had no idea who he was.

It seems like Jesus had the same idea long before Mark Twain. In Matthew 25, “The King” is giving some surprising news to his followers.

“When did we feed you?” Ask the righteous.

The King responds, “Whatever you did for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did for me.”

Surprise! It was me all the time. Thanks for the cheeseburger!

It’s like a pop quiz that we weren’t even told we were taking.

So what does this story have to do with us? Why should we care about the prince or the pauper? This story is an invitation to go looking for Jesus in disguise. He is out there waiting for us to reach out to him in unlikely places. In this story, the righteous are not judged by how many Bible verses they know or even by the sin in their life. They are accepted because they showed compassion to the “least of these.”

Jesus wants us to know that our decisions matter. Especially the decisions we make concerning the insignificant, the unimportant… the last of these. Everybody treats the important with respect. Will you do the same for the unimportant?

How can you reach out to the least of these today?

Day 3 of 7 from the 2009 Mission Discovery Devotional