“So what did you do for Christmas?” (this happened a while back …)
“You just sat around at home?!”
“I don’t have a home.”
I wanted to smack myself in the face at that moment. I volunteer at a drop-in centre for adults, and while most people there do have homes, some do not, and it was something I had forgotten. I didn’t even know what to say in that situation. I just started commenting on the game of crazy eight’s we were playing.
A man I’d never met joined us for the next game. “You know what I really don’t like about you volunteers?” he told me. “You always ask us questions.” It’s true; I had just asked him if he’d come to the centre before, how long he’d been in town. He told me that my constant pestering him with questions put me in a position of authority over him. He didn’t like that.
“What should I do instead?” I asked. He told me to be humble.
Maybe my “serving” had made me proud. A Christian girl from the university meeting with homeless people to tell them about Jesus – my constant digging into people’s lives to find out how they became homeless or why they were on disability was not doing anything to further God’s kingdom.
The gospel only makes sense when I am humble. When I am aware that there is nothing I did to make God choose me to be His child. When I remember that I do not deserve eternal life more than a person who struggles with addiction, or someone who doesn’t have a home. It’s when I see how lowly and sinful I am that I see how much I need Jesus Christ. I can’t serve God or the marginalized people in this community until I put their needs above mine.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:3-7)