2026 words of Jesus are recorded in the New Testament. Some of them comfort and some of them cut to the heart. Consider these:
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 something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; 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?38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ … ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’
Jesus equates how we treat the poor with how we treat Him. In some ways, the next poor person you meet is Jesus in Disguise.
Several years ago as I read through the razor sharp words of Matthew 25:40-45 I had a question, “Are these just nice “Jesus words” or are there people who really believe them and live them out?” God prompted me to go back to the biography of a little lady in India.
Saint to the Poor
Agnes Bojaxhiu spent her adult life ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying among the poorest of the poor in the horrific slums of Calcutta, India. When she started an open-air school for slum children she was joined by voluntary helpers. Financial support began to come in as she loved and cared for those persons nobody was prepared to look after.
Later known as Mother Teresa, she was given the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1979, “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress.” Not surprisingly, she refused the conventional ceremonial banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $192,000 funds be given to the poor in India.
In speaking about what it took to love poor, sick, orphaned beggars she always spoke of the love involved in giving. Her example makes her words more powerful. She said, “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” She also said, “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.”
In speaking of serving lowly people she said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” When asked about why she could serve so tirelessly she replied, “Love cannot remain by itself — it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”
“Jesus in Disguise”
Recently, I read one of the last interviews Mother Teresa gave before she died. She was being interviewed by Time Magazine.
Time: What did you do this morning?
Mother Teresa: Pray.
Time: When did you start?
Mother Teresa: Half-past four
Time: And after prayer
Mother Teresa: We try to pray through our work by doing it with Jesus, for Jesus, to Jesus. That helps us to put our whole heart and soul into doing it. The dying, the cripple, the mental, the unwanted, the unloved they are Jesus in disguise.
Forgotten Secret of Success
Time: Why have you been so successful?
Mother Teresa: I don’t think that I could do this work for even one week if I didn’t have four hours of prayer every day.
Time: Humble as you are, it must be an extraordinary thing to be a vehicle of God’s grace in the world.
Mother Teresa: But it is His work. I think God wants to show His greatness by using nothingness.
Time: You are nothingness?
Mother Teresa: I’m very sure of that.
Time: You feel you have no special qualities?
Mother Teresa: I don’t think so. I don’t claim anything of the work. It’s His work. I’m like a little pencil in His hand. That’s all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used. In human terms, the success of our work should not have happened, no? That is a sign that it’s His work, and that He is using others as instruments – all our Sisters. None of us could produce this. Yet see what He has done.
Time: What is God’s greatest gift to you?
Mother Teresa: The poor people.
Time: How are they a gift?
Mother Teresa: I have an opportunity to be with Jesus 24 hours a day.
At Grace City Church we make an effort to do ministry for Jesus, with Jesus, like Jesus and in a sense, to Jesus. Join us.