"You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats those he doesn't have to be nice to."
I have been mulling this line over in my head and it is so true. It reminded me of part of the James study I am doing (the one that I am determined to eventually get all the way thru) and something my friend Christy pointed out. One of the points in our study was about not showing favouritism and when I read it I kind of glossed over it because I didn't feel it was anything I struggled with. You see, after years of ministering to very high profile personalities with a bajillion dollars between them, I am not really fazed by those others can become rather enamored with. Christy shared that she struggled with this because she wants to hang out with the people she likes and sometimes avoids those she doesn't.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
Yes, that would be the resounding gong in my head that went off when I was filled with the sudden realization that I can be just as guilty of showing favouritism as the next person because I prefer to spend my time being nice to my friends and those people I like as opposed to those I don't really "have to" be nice to. I am an introvert who, as a pastor's wife, has been thrust into a job that is best executed by an extrovert. I find myself having countless conversations and counseling a multitude of people who I would maybe not naturally choose to initiate with. That seems to be exactly how Papa intends it to be, though!
How I treat those I am not naturally inclined to gravitate toward says a lot about my character and how well I understand the urgency of the Gospel. How well I reach out to love on those who may ordinarily get lost in the shuffle speaks volumes to them and others about the legitimacy of our claims that Jesus came and died for everybody if we only believe. We may be the only touch of Jesus that some people ever encounter and I want to be found faithful with the opportunities He gives me.
Whether it be the checkers or baggers at the grocery store, the lady from the claims dept at the insurance company or the bedraggled looking person who shows up at church this week...I am accountable for how well I communicate that they matter!!
Lord, I pray with everything that is in me that I would treat everyone I encounter like they matter to You and like they matter to me. Help me lay down any selfish desires I have to stick to what I know and what is comfortable and help me stretch beyond my natural capacity to show compassion to those who need to know their life is just as important as the next person's. Open my eyes that I may see others as you see them...with Jesus-shaped voids who need to be reminded that He is the only One who can satisfy their thirst and their longing to belong.
Eyes that look are common, but eyes that see are rare!