“Then He (Jesus) placed a little child among them; and taking the child in His arms He said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming my Father who sent me!’” Mark 9:36-37

Jesus and His apostles had just traveled through Galilee and had come to a house in Capernaum.   I can just imagine all the things twelve men might discuss on a long, hot, dusty journey. Jesus found one discussion on this journey of particular interest.  Once they were settled, Jesus asked them what they had been talking about along the way.  Of course He already knew.

“But they were ashamed to answer, for they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest!  He sat down and called them around Him and said, ‘Anyone wanting to be the greatest must be the least—the servant of all!’” Mark 9:34-35

And there it is.  The answer to the question we all ask.  We all long for a purpose in life. We all want to be great, to be important in some way, that is, to contribute, to leave our mark on the world.  To know that our life has meaning.

Jesus says God’s way is different than the world’s way. It’s a 180 degrees opposite, in fact, than the way world seeks to find meaning. It’s not about being the richest or most famous or most influential or most good looking or hanging with those who are.  It’s not about climbing the ladder, or being one of the elite so that others will serve us.

It’s about bending down.  It’s about noticing the least of these.  It’s about loving and serving and providing for those who are in need, for those who are most helpless and most dependent on the mercy of others.  Jesus says lead by putting yourself last and being the greatest servant!

Only when we’ve humbled ourselves enough to serve the likes of a child—one who has no ability to give us anything in return–it is with this same humbled attitude that we can then truly submit ourselves to Christ and receive Him to ourselves. Then we will find meaning and purpose for our life.

And when we do feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 “When you did it to these my brothers, you were doing it to me!”

Jesus says that when we serve others, we are serving Him.

And when we do serve these precious ones, like the one Jesus held in His arms, we are most like Christ.  We are His arms and hands and feet.

Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, gives us an opportunity to do just that through Operation Christmas Child.  Every year they collect shoeboxes that people like you have filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene necessities, clothing, shoes, and all kinds of goodies, and then present them to children all over the world for Christmas, along with the good news of Jesus Christ.

And Christmas is right around the corner!

In order to have time to ship the shoeboxes to where they’re going, National Collection Week this year is November 17-24.  That’s only 9 weeks from today!  You can look on their website to find the collection location nearest to you.  The cost for shipping is $7 per box, and you can even donate that online if you want to find out where your box(es) is going. You can find all the information on their website.

What a joy to serve these precious children and bless them in not only practical ways, but to help make a difference in their lives with the love and message of Christ.