Photo Courtesy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

General Conference

“The Least of These”

This week, president of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson talks about the importance of caring for orphans and vulnerable children.

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

E ditor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on November 13, from president of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. Elder Wilson will release a new video each week. You can see past messages here.

Hello, friends. Today in our short video time together we will be considering a very interesting and serious passage that gives us a glimpse into the final judgment.

In Matthew 25:31-40, we read:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of 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 drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matt. 25:31-40, NKJV).

Now, as we know, this familiar passage goes on in verses 41-43, describing how Jesus then turns to those on the left hand and says the terrible words, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

Sadly, those on the left hand are surprised when they learn that when they did not minister to “one of the least of these,” they were refusing to minister to Jesus.

Friends, as we look around today, there are so many opportunities to minister for Jesus. But one area that is often overlooked, one affecting the “very least of these” is the special ministry of reaching out to orphans and other vulnerable children.

According to recent estimates, there are at least 140 million orphaned children around the world, with almost 10,000 children becoming orphans each day. What a tragedy! How very sad to think of the trials these precious little ones face at such a young age. Sadly, statistics show that many of these vulnerable ones will turn to a life of crime once they are older.

As Christians, as Seventh-day Adventists, what can we do to help reach these precious ones—the “very least of these”—before it is too late?

This is a big question, and one that we take seriously. In order to raise awareness, and to encourage action, the world church has designated this Sabbath, November 21, as “World Orphans/Vulnerable Children’s Day.” More information about this special day is provided by Adventist Possibilities Ministries.

Here you will find suggestions and opportunities of how you can become involved in this very special and important ministry.

In the book, Christian Service, we read this beautiful and encouraging instruction:

“Good deeds are the fruit that Christ requires us to bear; kind words, deeds of benevolence, of tender regard for the poor, the needy, the afflicted. When hearts sympathize with hearts burdened with discouragement and grief, when the hand dispenses to the needy, when the naked are clothed, the stranger made welcome to a seat in your parlor and a place in your heart, angels are coming very near, and an answering strain is responded to in heaven.

Every act of justice, mercy, and benevolence, makes melody in heaven. The Father from His throne beholds those who do these acts of mercy, and numbers them with His most precious treasures. . . . Every merciful act to the needy, the suffering, is regarded as though done to Jesus. When you succor the poor, sympathize with the afflicted and oppressed, and befriend the orphan, you bring yourselves into a closer relationship to Jesus” (p. 187).

May God bless each one as, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we reach out in love and care to the “very least of these.”

Let's pray together, Father in Heaven. Thank you for allowing us to be part of Christ's ministry in reaching out to the very least of these, to people who are in great need. Show us Lord, how best to do that, so that we will not only be helping those who are in need, but we will be doing the ministry of Jesus and touching, as it were, the very life of Christ, in touching these needy people.

Lord, bring us into a right relationship with you so that we do all of this, not out of selfish motive, but because we love you and we love these people. Lord, each one of these individuals is a candidate for heaven. Help us to show your love in a powerful way to those in need and especially Lord, we think of orphans, thousands, hundreds of thousands, yes millions of orphans around the world. May they be drawn to you through kindness and acts of faith and generosity by your church members worldwide. Lord, help us to be like you and point people to your soon coming in Jesus' name, we ask it. Amen.

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