Many years ago, when I had been attending a church for several years, a new woman began to attend. Because I had been there for several years, I knew every one who came regularly. We had laughed and cried and prayed together, taken care of each others' children, shared meals and coffee. We knew each other well. We were friends.
When this new lady came, I was not interested in having a new friend. I was satisfied with my place in life.
One of my close friends immediately befriended her, pulling her into the church and making her feel comfortable. I watched her and was still not interested. And I recognized that I was doing it.
Finally, after several months I began to get to know her. She became a friend.
I would find out what this felt like a few years later when we moved across the country. We began attending a large church and went week after week without anyone attempting to get to know us. In their defense, some people spoke warmly to us and it was a large church. They could have assumed someone else had befriended us. Some people have lived in the same place all their lives and don't know what it feels like to not know anyone or have any friends.
I showed up at the women's ministry one morning and sat at a table alone. All the other women knew each other and were standing in groups, talking and laughing. I finally stood up and went over to one the groups and stood with them. No one spoke to me and I remember one lady looking at me like I was rude to come and stand with them. And I knew how she felt.
After a year of no one including us, we stayed home for about a month. The pastor's wife called me one day and asked me why we hadn't been there. I told her that no one talked to us. She assigned someone to us. *smile* That family would become our best friends and we are still close friends 20+ years later.
I learned my lesson. But more than that, one day the Lord spoke to me. He told me that everyone is important to Him, that everyone has a gift or talent that the Body of Christ needs to be complete. Everyone has something valuable to say, if we will stop and listen. Because He's no respecter of persons, He has shared His heart with all of us and for us to hear His heart, we will have to value and listen to each person. Or the Body is not complete.
1 Corinthians 11:23-34 talks about discerning the Lord's Body as we come together for communion. This passage warns us that if we do not value and discern the Body of Christ, we drink judgment upon ourselves and many of us have become sick or weak because of it.
Look around your church or your place of employment. Do you esteem everyone equally or is there someone that seems to be invisible to others? Maybe they're not attractive or popular. Maybe they won't elevate your status. May they just don't appeal to you.
And then realize that they're precious to God. They have a story. They have an importance to God and to the Body of Christ. They are Somebody. Look at them and see them. See them through God's eyes and love them.
love and blessings~