As people engaged in mission, ministry or outreach of any type, we can easily slip into thinking that we bring Jesus to people. That Jesus is with US and not with THEM.
After all, didn't he say in Matthew 28, "Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So, if Jesus is with us, surely he is not with them, right? Don't we have a monopoly on Jesus?
Not so fast.
In Matthew 25, Jesus so strongly identifies himself with the poor that he is able to say, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Jesus is with THEM. Jesus is with the poor, the outcast, the people at the bottom of the heap.
My friend, Dave Andrews, points out that we don't have to choose. Jesus is both with us AND with them. We don't have a monopoly on Jesus.
So how do we know when we are seeing Jesus at work?
Whenever we see the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The other day, my regular coconut-seller lady thrust a dollar into my hand as I was getting ready to pay her. With a smile she told me I had overpaid last time. Knowing she is poor, and every dollar counts, I was touched by her honesty, goodness and self-control.
Obviously, the Spirit of God was at work in her life, whether she recognizes it or not.
Thank you Jesus.