I can remember the time my back door opened and a grubby boot threatened to descend in ruinous contact with my kitchen floor. (Why the former tenant of the house who filled the place with eight sons would choose white tile for her decorating scheme is beyond me. All I can conclude is she must have been a wonder in courage!) Impatience welled, but an inward voice spoke first. Be careful what you say. Look into those eyes. Don’t you see that Christ has come into your kitchen—“Anyone who takes care of a little child is caring for God who sent me.”
The foot came down on the floor, and I knew at that moment this was going to be a hard discipline, this seeing Christ in those of my immediate family, in those who would leave their telltale marks over my floors and plans and life. A difficult discipline?—yes, but it is a worthy one. If I give to them but a cup of water, Christ counts it as unto Himself. I am not only called to minister to my church or to my world, but I am privileged to serve tho with whom I live. This concept has elevated my role of mother and wife and housemate to one of extreme satisfaction, but it has also made me greatly aware of the daily Presence of Christ who, after all, leaves some telltale marks of His own in our souls.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
St. Patrick of Ireland
Look closely at those with whom you come in contact. Are there ways you can be more Christlike in serving them? Consider these questions:
- Your own children. Which telltale marks are most annoying? The infant’s diapers? The toddler’s toys? The Little Leaguer’s bats and mitts and balls? The daughter’s whirlwind collection of dolls and miniature garments? The teen’s preference for music?
- Your children’s friends. Are the phone calls that come during dinner “telltale marks?” What about that certain abrasive personality of one of those friends?
- Your friend’s children. Have you ever thought, “If you were my child, you would never get away with ____________?” How would Christ treat this child’s behavior and personality?
- The children in the neighborhood. Do you know their names? Have you ever taken time to talk with them?
- The children in your church. Do you love them as though they were your own? Do you feel any responsibility to contribute to their growth?
- The child you have never seen before. What bruises or wounds, marks of another sort, are being inflicted on this soul? One with runny nose, dirty clothes, impertinent personality—what of Christ can you contribute to this one you may never see again?
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.