Engaging People As You Would Jesus
By Katie Pryor
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:40 (New International Version)
GMF US-2—Class of 2013-2015
Most mornings, I get up and out of bed with excitement, wondering, “Who needs missionary Katie P today! How can I serve?”
That sounds like an awesome missionary, right?
On other days, after hitting the snooze button five times, I roll out of bed hoping Jesus will catch me before I hit the ground. I wait on an invitation or some motivation to engage my local community with more than a dry, “Hello, how are you?”
The Apostle James wrote: “Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, ‘Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” James 2:15-16. (New Living Translation)
In the early days of my missionary term, I found myself wondering, “How can I best engage the people around me… without coming off as the weird missionary from Texas?”
I thought to myself, what if Jesus himself came to Biloxi, Mississippi, and was hungry. I wouldn’t give him a dry, “Hello, God bless ya!” Instead I would take him to the grocery store, and ask, “What would you like to eat?” Because JC (Jesus Christ) may not have the same taste buds as me, and who knows, he may introduce me to some substance that will change my life.
After cooking for JC and sharing a meal, I imagine he would say, “Thanks for taking the time to feed me when I was hungry; it meant a lot to me.” I would also probably post a selfie [on social media—a picture of myself with Jesus]. What if you knew you would get that same awesome response every time? Would you be more motivated to support your friends and community? This is how I began to respond to the people, now my friends and family, in Biloxi. I stepped outside of me and asked them what they liked to eat. I cooked for them and we shared meals together. Something holy happens around a shared meal—something that you can’t get on Communion Sunday by looking at the backs of heads reciting “take...eat...take...drink...”
When a meal is shared you are able to see face-to-face a person’s expressions. Everyone has an opportunity to speak, laugh, and joke. There is time to talk and engage. Through engagement, you begin to see JC in the people.
In Matthew 25:35-40, JC is guiding his followers to provide for and be in service with others. When we ignore an opportunity to support another in need, it’s like we failed to help JC.
Whatever you do or don’t do, you do to Jesus.
What have you done for Jesus today?
Katie Pryor serves as a US-2 young adult missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries. Commissioned in August 2013, she is assigned to children’s ministry at Moore Community House, Biloxi, Mississippi. Katie is from Red Oak, Texas, North Texas Annual Conference.
This article was originally published in the July-August 2015 issue of New World Outlook magazine.