The People of the Book

by Jan Silvious

About five years ago, a statement grabbed my heart and refused to let go: "If the people of the Book are like you, then read from the Book to me." At the time, I was sitting at the table with two old friends who profoundly influenced my life when I was a child. One was a woman who had loved me, accepted me, and been very kind to me. As a social worker for a home mission board, I had seen her sacrifice a great part of her life as she poured herself out for disadvantaged people. The qualities that drew me to her eventually caused me to want to be like the Christ she served.

The other, the woman who shared these memorable words with me, was Mercy JayRaja Rao, from the southern tip of India. Though I had never spent a great deal of time with her, she impacted my life powerfully.

When I was about twelve years old, Mercy spent Christmas with my family. We picked her up early in the morning and, after enjoying the day together, we returned to her apartment where I was to stay overnight with her. Before we went to bed, we knelt, and Mercy began to pray. I'II never forget that prayer. She asked the Lord to be gracious to the little boy we had seen on the sidewalk early that morning and prayed for two homeless men who had been huddled by a fire. One by one, she asked the Lord to meet the needs of every single person we had encountered that day! My childish brain was over­whelmed by her memory and concern for people to whom I had given only passing interest.

Now, sitting across the table from these two great women of faith, I stared into the black eyes and the gray eyes and thanked God that they had been people of the Book, giving me a glimpse of what His people are supposed to behow they are to behavehow deeply they are to care.

Since then, the words Mercy shared with me that day have come back many times as I have struggled to become a person of "the Book":

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).

I pray that you and I will become people who so reflect the Lord we serve that someday we may hear, "If the people of the Book are like you, then read from the Book to me."

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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