For some reason, the scripture Matt. 25:40 has kept coming to my mind lately.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
I’m not sure why though, but as I have been thinking of it, a question came to mind.
Often this scripture is used to illustrate the importance of service. This is particularly true when one considers the preceding verses discuss feeding the hungry, quenching the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and ministering to the imprisoned.
What I wonder though is whether this scripture can go a little further than a surface reading.
Obviously, the Lord is speaking of the downtrodden: the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and imprisoned. I find it interesting he includes the imprisoned in this list of downtrodden.
The previous four groups of people seem to have tangible needs, or rather that which addresses their needs: food, water, clothes, and medicine.
I don’t know that the needs of the imprisoned are as tangible. Maybe that’s why we hear fewer stories of Christians taking care of the imprisoned than we do stories of food banks, clothing drives, or vaccination efforts.
That’s not really my point though. What this incongruousness makes wonder is whether the Lord is speaking of just those with tangible, physical needs. Is he also speaking of those with emotional or even social needs? Could “the least of these” also refer to minorities in our societies? Could Matt. 25:40 also be a call to stand up for those unrepresented in society?