What to do to go to heaven

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited 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? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’”

(Matt 25: 31-40)

Comments

  1. Antonio Parr says:

    Ronan:

    Amen and Amen.

    This message (which runs through the Book of Mormon, as well) embodies the life of our Saviour and Examplar. Seeking out and serving “the least of these” is Christianity in its purest form.

    I wish that there was some way to make this type of “service-for-service’s sake” a more prominent component of our missionary program. I believe that we might be able to attract a great number of potential missionaries and converts to the cause if were to preach more with our service than with our formalized discussions. (Of course, that didn’t stop this convert from embracing the message of the restored Gospel . . . )

  2. Antonio Parr says:

    I type too quickly and then press “submit comment” even faster . . .

    I wish that there was some way to make this type of “service-for-service’s sake” a more prominent component of our missionary program. I believe that we might be able to attract a ~greater~ number of potential missionaries and converts to the cause if ~we~ were to preach more with our service than with our formalized discussions. (Of course, that didn’t stop this convert from embracing the message of the restored Gospel . . . )

  3. Careful, Brother Antonio. Pretty much every time I raise that point in Church circles (not in the bloggernaccle), I get told 1) “How dare you suggest that service is a superior missionary tool to tracting and member referrals!” 2) “If the missionary effort is not successful, it is entirely because of a lack of good member referrals. Why aren’t you giving the full-time missionaries more referrals?”

    So service must be a bad thing. :( Seriously, every time I’ve brought this up in “official” Church settings (Sunday School, etc.) I get one or both of the above responses.

  4. #1-#3: Then how about this?

    Leaders have begged members to be more actively involved in service in their communities for decades. Why do we want to push yet another responsibility onto missionaries who already are doing much of what we are supposed to be doing?

    How in the world can this passage be morphed into “missionaries should be focused more on service” and not “we members should be doing more to alleviate suffering all around us”? The failing of the Church in this area is not at the global church level or with the missionaries; it’s with us – the local membership.

    Missionaries have years before and after their missions to serve others in other ways; for 18-24 months, they are called to teach the Gospel – and they could do more of that if we did more of what we are supposed to do, including internalize this passage more personally.

    /End of rant/

  5. This passage was obviously corrupted over time.

    The original, I am quite sure, indicated that those on the right hand were those with temple recommends throughout their lives, those who had a year supply (now a 3-month supply), those who regularly “set a date” and met the goal in missionary work, those who “did” their home and visiting teaching visits each month (without fail, even to those who preferred they not come that month), those who fulfilled all building cleaning assignments, those who turned down birthday party invitations on the sabbath and who never listened or watched a live superbowl, those who avoided r-rated movies, those who never touched alcohol or tobacco or coffee (or even coca cola), those who always dressed (and were groomed) like a full time missionary or BYU student.

    I am not saying there is anything wrong with service, along the lines described in the corrupted passage. To paraphrase Cheney, these things may be sort of a “personal virtue”, and I do think they are worth doing if they do not interfere with the truly important stuff, as listed in the previous paragraph.

    Signed,
    Cousin of Prudence McPrude

  6. Well, this passage has always hit me hard, because I lack the bravery, not the love, but the bravery to do this. Permit me to share…
    I was alone in my apartment in Turkey, and a knock came at my door. I opened the door and there stood before me a devastatingly poor “gypsy” woman (I know that term is considered offensive, but that’s what the locals called them – I don’t know how else to describe her). She was begging for money or food. I wanted to give her my food, but I was too afraid. Too afraid to let her in, leave her unattended for fear of getting completely ripped off. Too afraid of setting up a precedent wherein she and others would make my apartment a place to come to all the time. Too afraid of taking a chance on this woman and trusting her and myself to do the right thing. So I sent her away. And I wept and wept because I knew right then that I had failed a major test in my life. It was so clear. It was like a final exam and I blew it. I knew I blew it and God knew I blew it. And it still haunts me 15 years later.

    So, while I desire with all my heart to be a sheep, I know I’ll probably end up with the goats, because I wasn’t/am not brave, strong, or humble enough to warrant being on the right hand of God.

  7. CJ Douglass says:

    I don’t know about this one Mr. Head. I don’t see a single mention of white shirts and ties in this text. Must be one of those modern translations.

  8. How dare you use the scriptures to show that works matter.
    Shame, shame. Don’t you know that the Evangelicals don’t call us Christian because we believe in works? I want them to stop saying we are not Christians so please post something about grace : – P

  9. Antonio Parr says:

    No. 4: Many of us are involved with the types of activities that you mention, although the competing demands of vocation and raising a family limit our capacity to serve. Missionaries have nothing but time to serve. It is the perfect opportunity to be about charitable endeavors. Moreover, most of the missionaries that I have seen and with whom I have worked, suffer terribly from boredom. (I can recall tracting for hours and hours on end and not even finding someone at home to say “no” . . . )

    No. 8: Grace has (at least) two components: one is the power to wash away sins, and the other is the power to help us avoid and/or overcome sin. We very much need grace to have the charity to clothe the naked and feed the hungry and, especially, visit those in prison. (I know that you were writing tongue-in-cheek, and I know, also, that you were making a different point, but nevertheless had to stand up for the gift of grace, which, even after all we can do, is what saves us.)

  10. Yes, but which kingdom of glory will these sheep inherit?

    That’s baaaaaaaah-d, I know.

    [smirk]

  11. CJ Douglass says:

    meems,

    You’re no goat in my book.

  12. On Sunday I felt prompted to bag the (underprepared) lesson from the manual and instead study that passage of scripture. I then told the teachers quorum about this article I had read.

    One of the best discussions we’ve ever had with those boys.

    URL here:
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/21/steeling_their_courage/

  13. This is one of my favorite scriptures.

  14. No mention of guns to protect our food storage????

  15. I am amazed at the amount of self-righteous sarcasm there is in these comments. If you are really concerned about how people should follow the Savior maybe you should work on being a little more kind yourself. Remember that thing Christ about the beam in your own eye?

  16. Perhaps we should look to Job for the answer to this question–someone who had no visible reason to believe in God anymore amidst nothing but despair. His wife tells him to curse God and die, and I find his endurance to be inspiring. He would rather endure 42 chapters of enduring the thought that God had abandoned him than spend 1 chapter abandoning God.

    If it takes anything to get into heaven, I imagine it’s that kind of faith.

    Sure–we can mock white shirts and visiting teaching all of the things we’ve been instructed to do because (GASP) it’ll teach us something if we take it seriously. We can ask, “what’s the big deal? It’s just a white shirt. Just an R-rated movie. Just one drink.” The list always goes on.

    What I wonder is if it’s SO SIMPLE, then why don’t we just do as we’re told? If R-rated movies are THAT harmless, then I guess we aren’t missing much if we don’t watch them, now are we? If white shirts aren’t such a big deal, then wear one. Etc, and etc, and etc.

    I like Job. He reminds me and other carnal people like me that one of the promised blessings of heaven is not, in fact, convenience. And considering that those who go to heaven will probably work more than they ever did on earth, I doubt we should expect ease if that’s where we want to go.

    Sometimes I wonder if the Book of Revelation should have ended a little more colloquially and candidly: perhaps a good, old-fashioned “Shut up and do as you’re told” to keep us all straight. It’s a little Old Testament in its delivery, but every little bit helps, right?

    Then again, that kind of obedience would probably only get us Terrestrial glory, at best. Maybe it should just go without saying like it always has. ;)

  17. Ack. Redundancy from a lack of proofreading. I’m pretty sure I’m in outer darkness now.

  18. I’ve already resolved to blog less and serve more.

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