by RUTH DAUGHERTY*
Reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, I am inspired by his actions as much as by his teaching -- the way he “walked the talk.” Going to the synagogue regularly, going apart to pray and teaching through the use of parables to provoke thinking, were definitely significant parts of his life. But a major part of his ministry occurred as he walked in the villages and cities among the people.
He demonstrated what it means not only to hear the “Word” but to make it a part of everyday life. His compassion for people in all circumstances of life -- acceptance of people, knowing how to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals and crowds of people -- is a model that has challenged me in living out my faith.
When asked to serve in various areas of the church’s mission, I think of Jesus and his commitment to fulfill God’s will and ask myself the question: “Is this a call on my life to serve and if so, how can I say no?” This has led to involvement in many areas of the church and throughout the world.
Glocal experiences that I have had form a collage of people and situations that have impacted my life:
• Children reaching out their hands and asking for pencils and paper;
• women walking miles to get water for their families; children with diarrhea often caused by drinking impure water;
• grandmothers raising their grandchildren because the parents died of HIV/AIDS;
• destitute women who cannot obtain resources to provide for their families;
• young girls kidnapped and forced to become sex slaves; persons discriminated against because of caste or race; workers receiving extremely low wages while employers live in luxury;
• women verbally and physically abused;
• hundreds of thousands of people starving or dying for lack of medications; and
• vast multitudes of people who do not know the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
In the midst of these scenes I hear the voice of Jesus: “In as much as you do it to one of the least of these, you do it to me.”
There are three ways I respond to this call.
1. I give of my resources to help to bring about transformation in the lives of people so that children can go to school with resources needed for learning; women can obtain clean water from wells in their villages; children can receive needed medical care; orphans can have loving care; women can begin their own businesses utilizing micro-credit; young women who have been abused can be given counseling and vocational training; and Bible Women can share the Good News.
2. I serve in LUMINA, a church and community ministry, that works through the local churches to respond to human needs and to help create a just and healthy community.
3. I participate as part of an adult mission work team from my local church. Most recently our team went to Appalachia to help to transform a 40-year-old barn into a safer, drier and warmer home for a single mother and two sons.
All of these experiences, undergirded with prayer, have transformed my life as changes have been observed and new relationships formed with the amazing diversity of God’s creation. It is, indeed, a privilege to respond to people and their needs in the spirit of Jesus Christ.