This is my friend Shelby. She frequently visits the shelter I help at. I met her there last Christmas when my family and I went to go help serve Christmas dinner. She usually wears sunglasses and a cute hat. I’ll join her towards the end of lunch and she’ll tell me what the squirrels say when she drinks her coffee in the park. She also shares about her daughter in New Mexico, her kittens, and the life she once knew a long time ago.
Yesterday, she approached me and asked if I would pray for her. She said she was on day 5 of her “new life”. She couldn’t tell me what her new life was all about or what it entailed but she knew that she needed a new life and that she couldn’t live it without a little help. I was honored to sit next to her and say a prayer.
I have to admit, I wonder why she asked me. We’ve never really talked about faith before. Most of the time I just sit and listen. When I’m not sitting with her, I’m usually helping participants fill out assistance forms or hauling bags of dog food for our pet assistance program. It’s not like I wear a t-shirt that says “Licensed Minister” and I know she’s never read my blog.
The only conclusion I can make is that maybe all that sitting, listening, smiling, and serving has made an impression that no amount of preaching, shoulder patting, scripture quoting, or advice giving could ever make.
Whatever the reason, I’m glad she asked me to pray and I’m still praying that her “new life” continues on to day 6, day 7, 8, 9, 10 and keeps on going.
In our culture, it’s so easy to become caught up in the game of appearances. What does my car say about me? What about my house? Am I perceived as successful? Smart? Or do people see me as needy? Do I look like I’ve made some bad decisions along the way or am I a success story in the eyes of my community? What about my clothes? Do they reflect my social status (or make me look even better?)
Funny how we care so much about our social standing. We love the preferred treatment. It’s nice to be able to go straight to the front of the line, sit in the green room, be recognized, be served. There’s a pecking order, and we like to be at the front of it.
It’s not hard to tell who’s at the front of the pecking order either. Celebrities receive special treatment and are often treated to complimentary you name it. The CEO gets the best parking spot, and the good-looking get the benefit of the doubt. They are the greatest in our culture, the kings and queens of western society and we play along as we work extra hours, bend the truth to sell more and motivate ourselves with GQ and Car and Driver.
Then there’s Jesus. Wham! The King of Kings, the famous one. The most influential man to ever walk the planet (after He created it). He comes along and declares a new system. In Luke 9:48 he says, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”
That’s it! We have a new standard for greatness! The least are now great. The poor are deserving of attention. The needy are to be honored and the sick are to be loved. What more needs to be said? We now have the tremendous privilege of serving those whom Jesus stuck with, stood up for, and identified with.
When you see Jesus begging today, give Him something. When you see Him in Africa, Asia, and India honor Him. When you see him sick with AIDS or living on the street, welcome Him. He’s The Greatest.
*I originally posted this on the Worldhope.us blog. A great organization helping those in extreme poverty. Check them them out at www.worldhope.us.