“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’”(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV).
Throughout my days as a Christian there have been certain people, at whatever church I found myself, who were less attractive than the rest. They often had some sort of mental deficiency and were very high maintainance. I was usually attentive to them when we were together, but in my heart I wished that I could be with anyone else. I would listen to what they had to say, respond as I felt I should respond, but inside I was always looking to get away, to escape as if being with them was a prison.
My wife on the other hand, seems to be a magnet for such people. She has compassion on them, and helps them in any way she can. It was through one such person that I was given renewed sight. While not her real name, I’ll refer to her as Serendipity.
This was back in the day, when we still had land-line telephones. Serendipity would call my wife frequently (at least it seemed frequently!). As God would have it, my wife was often away, and it fell to me to deal with Serendipity’s calls. I often found myself letting the phone ring when her name popped up on the caller ID. I had little patience, and even less for people like Serendipity.
Then one day I felt the stabbing conviction of the Holy Spirit. I was reminded about our text, that God sees people differently that I. I tried seeing Serendipity through different eyes. It is still amazing to me how God can soften my often hard heart. I began answering her calls. While I must admit that my discomfort in dealing with her did not change, I found myself listening to her with the compassion of the Lord. It was almost as if I had been given new eyeglasses after years of squinting. I began to see Serendipity, and people like her, clearly for the first time.
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body” (1 Corinthians 12:14-15 ESV). God made it clear to me that every member of the body of Christ has a function. Thus, every member is important. It made no difference that I had looked at people like Serendipity as less important, God saw them differently. So I had to learn to see them differently. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22 ESV).
God showed me that my attitude toward Serendipity was my attitude toward Him. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me'” (Matthew 25:40 ESV).
It is so easy, convenient even, to ignore those who are perhaps least like us. We know the kind of people we like to be around, but it’s not about us. If we are to be truly the Body of Christ, we need to get this into our heads and our hearts. Will we only show the love of Christ to those who are like-minded with us? When we choose that path we are ignoring a part of Christ Himself.
Search your hearts, as I have mine, and see if you have, perhaps, been guilty of this attitude. Begin to see the whole body, and learn to love as Christ first loved you.
Peace and blessings on your weekend!