Welcoming Jesus in Our Home

In her book Open Heart-Open Home, Karen Mains remembers the time her back door opened and a grubby boot threatened to descend in ruinous contact with her white kitchen floor. Her impatience was about to brim over, but then an inward voice spoke first, "Be careful what you say. Look into those eyes. Don't you see that Christ has come into your kitchen?" She recalled Jesus' words: "Anyone who takes care of a little child is caring for God who sent me."

When the foot came down, Karen recognized that this seeing Christ in every member of her family was going to be a hard discipline. They would be leaving their telltale marks not only on her floors but on her plans and her life. But she knew it was a worthy discipline. If she gave them a cup of water, Christ would count it as done to Himself.

The concept that to serve others is to serve Christ elevated Karen's role of mother and wife to one of extreme satisfaction. It also made her aware of the daily Presence of Christ, the One she was ultimately serving.

We are called to minister not only to our neighbors but to our friends, extended family, and to our world. It is a special privilege to serve those with whom we live.

It is often easier to extend the courtesies we extend to friends than to those outside our immediate families. After Karen began to ask herself, "How would I say that to a friend? she found her attitudes of annoyance mellowing. Instead of "Hang up your coat. Pick up your toys. etc. etc." to a friend she would probably suggest, "There are hooks in the hall. Would you like to hang your coat in there?"

Dear Jesus, teach us to be Christlike to all those we care about most deeply.

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward" (Matt. 10:42).