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"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'”
According to Pastor Jeffrey Miller of Trinity Bible Church in Texas, “In the first century, children were especially regarded as insignificant. They had no power and no status, and were not considered full persons. Thus to embrace a child publicly was to embrace that which was insignificant. Jesus was choosing insignificance by association.”
Today, most Christians follow Jesus’ example when it comes to children. However, there are undoubtedly others whom we fail to notice—those who offer humble services (waiting tables, hauling away trash, stocking grocery store shelves, etc), sit by us on the the Metro or bus, the person in line behind us, or worse yet, the newcomer in the pew in front of us—anyone whom we unwittingly treat as insignificant.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be ignored and neglected, unseen and unheard, unappreciated and unwelcomed? What if I . . . or what if you . . . were that person? How would we feel?
Will you pray with me that God would open our eyes to those around us—to the overlooked and disregarded, whomever and wherever they may be? What might God be trying to teach us through them, just as he taught his disciples through the example of a child?
I will never forget the example Christ showed me of Christian caring through the actions of a young woman at the Williamsport Hospital. Our son spent two weeks in ICU following an injury to his kidney. On the morning of Seth's surgery Dick and I were sitting in the waiting area anxiously searching the faces of every doctor who came through the doors from the operating arena. A young woman came over and offered us each a granola bar and simply said, “I have been cleaning your son’s room in ICU and I knew he was having surgery today. I thought you might need something to tide you over while you wait. I wanted you to know I’m praying for him.”
Yes, I had casually thanked the person who came in and cleaned Seth’s room when I happened to be there, but I honestly never really looked at her or even read her name badge. Yet, she had obviously not only taken note of us, but was willing to reach out to us in a tangible way.
The world is full of people just like that young woman. What could we say or do to acknowledge his/her presence? To recognize their worth? To make that person feel significant, to feel cared for? I don’t think it would take too much—a smile, a kind word, making eye contact, an expression of thanks, the offer of a cup of coffee . . . or a granola bar. Be creative. Jesus left us an example. Let’s follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2:21)
©2014 Pamela D. Williams