God’s kingdom is advanced as we serve people.
On the night before Jesus was betrayed, he gathered his disciples together to eat, talk, and pray with them before he would be required to give his life on our behalf. During this time the disciples began to argue “Who do you think will be remembered as the greatest?” Jesus must have been disheartened by this. This close to his kingdom being established and the disciples still didn’t get it. So he turns to them and says, “Look at the world. The people in power lord it over those who are under them. But you…. You are to be different.” He then went on to explain that in God’s kingdom, the greatest are those who are servants to all (Luke 22). To emphasize this, he took up a basin and a towel and proceeded to wash the disciple’s feet. This was a culturally demeaning action that was reserved for the lowest of slaves or servants in the household. Afterwards his instructions were clear and simple. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:15)”
When we serve others, two invariable things happen. We connect to God and our Faith is strengthened. In fact, serving others is the method by which Jesus both established God’s kingdom and instructed us in how that very kingdom was to be advanced. It is not something that is optional. God has created all of us with different gifts and abilities. God’s church is built when we all work together as one body, using all the uniqueness and colorfulness of who we are, demonstrating the depth of love that we have for one another, as we communicate the Gospel in both words and actions. How do we begin? One way is to adapt the attitude that Mother Teresa had, loving serving people, one person at a time.
“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one. You get closer to Christ by coming closer to each other. As Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me. So, you begin…I begin….
I picked up one person– maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person, I wouldn’t have picked up 42,000. The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if I didn’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less. Same thing for you, same thing for your family, same thing in the church where you go just begin…one, one, one.” (Words to Love By, p. 79) by Mother Teresa
In light of this, it is helpful to remember:
- God’s Kingdom is built when his people imitate him, and become servants.
- We experience the power of the resurrection as we die daily to our own sin and selfishness. Serving others helps this process to happen.
- We can all become like Mother Teresa. We simply need to love and serve one person at a time.