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Looking for Jesus
When we serve someone marginalized or forgotten, we actually serve Jesus.


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I speak no Haitian Creole, and he spoke no English, so I couldn't ask him. The only think I could do was to sit beside him. The longer we sat together, completely quiet, the sadder I felt. My thoughts focused on what it must feel like to be an orphan, especially at two years of age. The loneliness. The lack of affection. I tapped his tiny hand just once with my little finger, and he held onto my pinky. Soon I noticed the tears in my own eyes. Then he noticed, and squeezed harder.

Another minute or two went by, and then he started to squeeze my finger rapidly. We looked at one another; he smiled as he stood up, gave my neck a long hug, flashed me another big smile, then ran off to chase a beach ball.

The next thought to enter my mind: You comforted me.

After all, this little guy easily qualifies as "one of the least of these." Quoting the subtitle from a new book by Shane Claibourne and Tony Campolo, what if Jesus really meant what he said?

Fast-forward to yesterday.

Because of a recent ankle surgery, I currently wheel through my days with my leg held up on a scooter. As I left work yesterday, several gentlemen blocked the door of our building and the path to the portion of the sidewalk with a ramp that I needed to scoot down. None of them noticed me ungracefully open the door and wheel out until I said "excuse me." They parted and gravity took me down the ramp to my car, parked only fifteen feet away. As I opened the trunk to stow my now-folded scooter, I began to wobble. Balancing on one foot while lifting a scooter into a car should be an Olympic event. I'm sure I began to sweat as I regained my equilibrium.

Then I heard a lady say, "Sweetie, are you going to make it?" as she walked toward me to help.

"I think so," I said while finally lowering the trunk. "Thank you, though, for asking."

Some details surrounding that scene will help clarify. The group of guys busy talking as I was hopping on one leg with a cast on my foot and a scooter in my arms was a group of pastors, in our building for a denomination meeting. The lady who had parked her car and offered help was a complete stranger who I've never seen before. Yes, I admit to feeling disappointed that the group of pastors was too busy to help—but grateful that the lady cared. And I will avoid making any reference to the Good Samaritan story.

Instead, I thought of my encounter in Haiti. How often am I too absorbed in sweating over my organization, my ministry, or my plans to notice chances to walk over and help someone? So today, and every day, it seems like I should go out into the day and look for Jesus. He'll likely be found as someone with a simple, personal need that I can meet.

David is senior editor of the children's ministry area for BuildingChurchLeaders.com; he is a mentor to a first-grade boy and serves as president of Kids Hope USA, a national nonprofit organization that partners local churches with elementary schools to provide mentors for at-risk students;. Prior to this assignment, David led Promiseland, the children's ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois. David is the author of Lessons Kids Need to Learn (2012) and lives in Grand Haven, Michigan, with his wife, Becky, son, Scott, and daughter, Erin.

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Topics:Caring, Christlikeness, Obedience, Servanthood, Social justice
Filters:Children's ministry, Missionary, Missions, Outreach, Pastor, Service, Short-Term Missions Leader, Volunteer
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