I Hope I Am Like Him

January 14, 2022  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

Man on his knees praying outside at dawn

“Who is this Christ? Is he like you?”

Perhaps you’ve heard this story, often attributed to the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta. A sick man asked her this question, as he marveled at her tireless service to himself and others in the name of someone named Jesus Christ.

“He is nothing like me,” the saint is said to have answered. “But I hope I am like him.”

Though the authenticity of this exchange cannot be verified, its message rings perfectly true: all the value of our stewardship lies in its relativity to the one in whose name we perform it.

Consider the figure of John the Baptist — a magnificent, towering character even purely from a literary or historical perspective. A martyr who fed on wild locusts and boldly spoke truth to power — a man so great some mistook him for the Messiah.

But why is he great? Because he prepared the way. All his accomplishments and escapades mean nothing if they are taken out of the context of salvation history. He only makes sense relative to Christ — and this is exactly as he wanted it. “One worthier than I is coming,” he insists. And because of that humility and that total embrace of God’s will, he is given one of the greatest honors in the New Testament — he baptizes the Son of God.

Let’s examine our lives in the light of their relativity to Christ. How do we prepare the way? When Christ comes to us, what do we do? How do we leave ourselves open to be actors in God’s plan?

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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