By WANDA THOMAS
Mission Mississippi’s December theme, “Deeper Service,” requires us to examine our hearts and minds to give considerable thought to what it means to serve, just as the believers in Acts 2:44-47. Often, we are willing to give of ourselves if it doesn’t lead to a point of discomfort in our lives. Beliefs, opinions, differences, and even the inability to forgive can cloud our judgment when called to serve others. When this occurs, do we really have a love for service?
Service is looking beyond our own obstacles and needs in order to give meaningful help and support in benefit of another person or group.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” As Christians, we are called to demonstrate a love so clear for one another that it allows those we encounter to see Christlike characteristics within us.
Each of us has an opportunity to be a part of life-changing moments for others. It requires us to shed the cover of comfort and the cloak of fear. Discomfort and fear can sometimes hinder us from deeper service because of our own insecurities and fear of judgment. As the actor and activist Jesse Williams said in a recent award acceptance speech, “Afraid? OK, do it afraid.” We cannot let any hindrance keep us from doing God’s work. The reward is greater.
In one of my most recent experiences, youth who reside more than 1,000 miles away from the city of Jackson held a fundraiser on behalf of the residents who are facing obstacles due to the ongoing water crisis. They didn’t know what the people they were serving looked like, what the people’s opinions were, or what stance anyone else was taking. These students simply wanted to help. The commitment and dedication of these students showed that they were in fact “people for others.”
When we see how these children are unafraid and willing to help, we know our future is bright with them as leaders. It also serves as a reminder of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
These acts of generosity and kindness can be defining moments for us as adults. It fills our hearts with joy and gladness to know that there are young people who are great examples of agape love. It teaches us that the best leaders are better servants, and they lead with love. Love connects us because we are ALL God’s children, no matter what we look like or who we are. The second greatest commandment from God is, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Matthew 22:39. We must always keep this commandment in our hearts and minds.
In true service, be unafraid, be open, be dedicated, and lead with love.
I value my connection with Mission Mississippi. The ministry work being done through them helps us to connect with others to develop and cultivate long-lasting relationships across racial lines. To all our brothers and sisters, take a stand and continue to keep your hope in God’s word
Wanda Thomas is executive director of Catholic Charities Inc. of Jackson and is married to Ronnie Thomas. Wanda and Ronnie are members of Greater Pearlie Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson.