A Different Outlook

The past three weeks, Eun and I have been putting together an art class every Tuesdays and Thursdays for some of our neighborhood children. As the last art class is rolling in, I have been reflecting about the passage in Mark 9: 35. When I was in India last summer at an HIV/AIDS orphanage doing VBS and other such activities with the children, one of the lessons God opened my eyes to was that very passage. It was so hard for me to accept some of the circumstances that those children came from but God stopped me and humbled me. He was noticing that I was beginning to serve these children out of love that derived from sympathy and pity rather than love that derived from the powerful and unconditional love of God. He reminded me of this passage as it says, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Also he brought me to this passage in Mark 9:14-15, which says, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." God was allowing me a chance to look at it in a different perspective. He showed me that I should also receive Christ like a child with desperation and in incompetence, clinging to the one who gives me the living water. Since then, I have looked at children in such a vastly different way. Instead of seeing them as dependent and having much to learn, I try to see them the way God sees them.
While reading "Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life" by Robert Lupton, he briefly goes over this same topic. However, he adds to this point an even more profound perspective. He says that many times we tend to get lost in this "servant" position and he "saw help becoming control or care become commercialized (p.66)." Lupton saw that over time people stopped seeing this servanthood as following as Christ did, but instead they started using this idea for their causes to "conquer, rule and dominate others in Christ's name (p.65)." But Lupton brings up John 15: 15, "No longer do I call you servant, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father, I have made known to you." Christ, as always, brings me back to His backward ministry. First, He shows that to be first I must be last of all. Then, He shows me that to serve, I must first be a friend. This shifted the core of even our art class. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to give to these children an art lesson, or to serve them; I am called to simply be their friend - "free to give and receive help from each other (p.67)." These children are valuable and precious in God's eyes and I have so much to learn and receive from their incompetent, dependent, longing, and dependent spirits.

-Madison Hur

Abbey NishimotoComment