Breathless, the woman struggled to make her way up the stairs to our client room, hampered by extra weight on her frame. She wore no makeup and did not style her hair, so her look was rather plain.
Yet as we sat and talked, I was struck by the dignity and beauty this woman carried—something of which she herself was not aware. I was glad for the privilege of serving her.
As I reflect on that particular client session, and countless others, I can think of three reasons why it is an honor to serve the distressed women and couples who come through our doors.
1. It’s an honor to serve our clients because every human being is created in the image of God.
The Bible tells us of the high value God places on human beings beginning with the very first chapter of Genesis.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”–Genesis 1:27
Here’s how the Psalmist David puts it,
“When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor…” –Psalm 8:3-5
Every person who comes through our doors bears the image of God. They carry a glory which is a reflection of the Almighty.
This divine imprint sets us apart from the rest of creation—and when we are able to recognize it, wow!
It takes our breath away.
Not only does God value human beings highly—He also has no caste system. From His point of view, every person bears the same God-given glory as another. He does not elevate persons on the basis of race, gender, class, or whether or not they have been born. All of us share the same value.
2. It’s an honor to serve our clients because we get to be agents of the grace of God.
Scripture tells us something else about human beings—that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
We all need God’s grace on a daily basis just as much as those we serve need it. This is something to keep in mind, lest we are tempted to think we are better off than they are.
None of us comes to God on our own merit. It is only by Christ’s righteousness that we are made righteous.
Once we have received God’s saving grace, and continue to receive it in our daily life, we can be agents of that same grace to others. We can express the extravagant love of God to others instead of judging them.
3. It’s an honor to serve our clients because, in so doing, we serve the Lord Jesus.
Jesus told a parable about the sheep and goats being separated at the end of the age. Those who ministered to Him (the sheep) would inherit His kingdom. The “sheep” will be surprised, He said, and would ask Him when and how they ministered to Jesus.
“And the King will answer them, ‘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
We love to see ourselves as the hands and feet of Jesus to others. That’s satisfying. But instead, it’s those we serve who represent Christ! When we minister to others, we minister to Jesus Himself.
To put this in terms of life-affirming work, it’s not so much about us being Jesus to the abortion-vulnerable woman. It’s about her being Jesus to us.
That’s a much humbler position, isn’t it? We’re the needy ones. We’re widows and orphans, everyone.
Remembering that those we serve allow us to do so helps us to honor each person’s uniqueness. It keeps us from treating people as commodities.
Tweet This: Remembering that those we serve allow us to do so helps us to honor each person’s uniqueness, & keeps us from treating people as commodities
The temptation to collect ministry trophies is always a danger, whether it’s notches on our evangelist belt or the number of distressed pregnant women we’ve helped.
Jesus has no interest in a ministry machine that produces results. He always sees the individual and cares about him or her personally.
If we’re truly life affirming, we’ll honor, value, and cherish every human life, regardless of his or her challenges, demeanor, or history. We’ll treat everyone with sensitivity and grace.
The people in crisis to whom we reach out wear the countenance of Christ. When we touch their lives, we minister to Jesus.
Back to the story I started with: As I sat in the client room that day, I was in awe of the beauty and dignity of the “ordinary” woman with whom I spoke.
Because I recognized her human glory, because I need grace myself every day, and because this woman represented Jesus to me, it was an honor and a privilege to minister to her.
May you be blessed with eyes to see the beauty and dignity of every person you serve. May God’s grace overflow into their lives as you serve Jesus by serving those in need.