Modelling Jesus Love

Servant’s Heart from the Desk of a Deacon

Our Lord said, “he came not to be served but to serve.” That is a large statement; we have all heard it before, but I am not sure that we have defined clearly the service that is needed in our communities and in our world. It seems to me that we spend much time worrying, as we should, about those who are unhoused. I worry just as much about the “working” poor. Those who have jobs, but who are living by juggling whether they eat or heat their homes.

The working poor need our help and care as much as those who tend to be in the news every week. This work of service requires serious commitment and deep prayer for the people with whom we work. Let us remember though that we do not serve simply because it is good to do so, because it is on a liberal agenda, or that being of service to others will prove our personal goodness. We serve because it is Our Lord’s call to us. In the poor, we see and know Jesus. We see the suffering Christ in the person of our brothers and sisters broken by unemployment, struggling to feed, clothe and house their children with little income and constant challenge. As we serve our working poor, we serve Jesus Christ in all his guises.

Now, we need skills to carry out this work. For a start, we need to be compassionate. Compassionate people are able to clearly see Jesus, broken, hurt, and in need in the faces of those we serve. Compassion enables us to offer comfort, relief, and a listening ear to our brothers and sisters who need to be heard and who need to be loved as our Lord asked us to love.

We need to have an acceptance of our own limits. This skill is essential because how can we be open to the suffering and pain of others if our own personal pain is overwhelming us? A life of service is demanding. However, a servant does not need to do everything, or solve everything. A true self-aware servant listens to their own inner being and trusts what they hear, in order that they not burn themselves out in this work.
We must be courageous. Service to those whose lives are marked by deprivation is risky. This demands energy, wisdom, and resources that often are scarce. To undertake projects that we probably cannot control, trusting that we can find a way to bring healing and wholeness, requires enormous courage.

We must be committed to smallness. This is not work that hits the headlines! Service to the working poor means doing ordinary things with ordinary people. This work is about listening, feeding, offering shelter, seeing dignity and showing respect.

We must be humble. We need to serve with the heart and love of Christ. True servants are people who stand for what is right and who constantly and consistently call that forth in others. Humble servants understand that we need to work where we find ourselves, doing what we can with whatever resources are available to us.

We need to work together with all our collective skills. It is in modelling Jesus altruistic love for others that we are enabled to find true meaning and purpose in our lives. Working together in this common cause to bring aid to the poor and especially the working poor is to see the Gospel at its best.


  • Christine Ross

    The Venerable Christine Ross is Archdeacon of Kootenay Director of Deacons – Diocese of Kootenay BC

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