“What we give to the poor, we lend to the Lord”
—Sojourner Truth (1797?-1883)
“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?
“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”
When Jesus finished placing this charge before his twelve disciples, he went on to teach and preach in their villages.
“We are intimately linked in this harvest work.” “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Could we truly be so identified with Christ? Could our actions and reactions, words and attitudes reflect so essentially all that he is—and a response to us be a response to him? It is a great mystery—and a mystery carrying great responsibility.
Consciously or unconsciously, the effect of the good and beautiful lives of those in whose hearts the Truth (God) dwells will be felt.
Once on my way to Tibet, I stopped at a mountain village. The people in it were very dirty and unwashed. I noticed a boy examining me intently. Then I saw him hold out his hands to compare them with mine. He said nothing, but in a little time he went out, and I saw him washing his hands at a stream. Then he came back and again compared his washed hands with mine. Without any word from me he had been impressed by the cleanness of my hands, and the desire was born in him to have his hands equally clean. In the same way our lives, influenced by our contact with our Heavenly Father, are silently having their effect on the lives of those around. How necessary it is, therefore, that in our lives we should show forth the virtues and glory of our Heavenly Father.
—Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929)
Meditations on Various Aspects of the Spiritual Life