Matthew 25:40 – The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (NIV 2011)
Recently, I attended a beautiful memorial service for Pastor Tom, a Baptist pastor who had a ministry to marginalized people living with addictions or untreated mental illness, or in poverty, in the city of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The large sanctuary was full, as people from churches across the city came together to pay tribute to the man known as the Mother Teresa of Victoria. His three children spoke very movingly of his life and example, saying what a humble, loving, and faithful servant he was. The tools of his trade were tracts, a pack of cigarettes, and a wad of five-dollar bills. His goal was to connect with everyone he met and show them the love of Christ. His son told of how his father had actually once met Mother Teresa on a plane, and had had a chance to talk with her about their mutual calling to serve as followers of Christ.
Just before the service began, a tiny Aboriginal woman slipped in and sat beside me. She wept throughout the service, using up the entire box of Kleenex kept in the pew. I tried to comfort her, and asked what Pastor Tom had meant to her. "He reminded me of my father," she said. "I always looked for him. Pastor Tom would be so proud of me. I am 19 days sober." She said that she had lost her jacket with her identification in it, but she decided that it was more important for her to be at the service than to look for her jacket. She was obviously a very gentle soul who had had a tough life. She told me that she came from a family with a lot of dysfunction, where her father had abused her mother. Her love for Pastor Tom was evident in how she said his name — with a smile on her face and a longing in her voice. At the end of the service, we chatted a bit, and I told her that it was an honour to sit beside her. I asked what her name was. "Teresa," she said. I asked her if I could give her five dollars for Pastor Tom. She accepted it gratefully and slipped it into her pocket.
Just as Pastor Tom was inspired by his encounter with Mother Teresa, I was inspired by this Teresa, who might be considered as one of the least of these. She had been shown the love of Christ by Pastor Tom, and Pastor Tom had done it for Jesus, just as we are told to do. The heartfelt tears being shed right before my eyes were a powerful testimony of this outpouring of love, the inspirational legacy of the love of a follower of Jesus.
And Jesus said, "Go and do likewise"! (Luke 10:37b NIV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your faithful people who serve the least of these and radiate Your love to those around them. It is not easy to have this kind of ministry, so please help us to go and do likewise. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" (Lyrics)