It is sobering to note that, according to Matthew 25, we'll be judged by our sins of omission. Whatever we did for the least of these, we did for Jesus. And what we didn't do for them, we didn't do for Jesus.
Doesn't that contradict everything Paul taught about salvation by faith alone? No. In Galations 5:6, Paul says: "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." It doesn't say that the only thing that counts is love. That would imply that whatever love we can muster on our own is sufficient. But our feeble, self-serving love can't please God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Faith is the only means by which we lay hold of God's love, and his love will compel us to take care of his children. Faith is the means; love is the end. 1 John 4:7-8 makes it very clear that without love, we don't know God.
In my own life, things will be chugging along in their usual way, with me being irritated by drivers who cut me off and then slow down to make me miss a green light. (Why does that always happen to me?!) I go through my routine and lose myself in the mundane, day after day. Then the Almighty suddenly stoops down to offer me a glimpse into the suffering of another human soul and impart to me some of his inexhaustible love for that seemingly random person. Or his compassion inspires me to pray for the many lost and broken. During those moments, the real, historical, resurrected Jesus comes alive to me like no other time.
I'm praying that it will happen more often.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God." (1 John 4:7)