We were young and didn’t know better. That’s all I can say. My girlfriend and I, full of ideas of how to make people feel welcome in our home, had such detailed plans for what we would do that no one could have done it all. Guest rooms would be scented, chocolates lovingly laid on the pillow, sweet notes of welcome tucked in unexpected places. I’m telling you, we had it going on! And we did it too! Until full-time ministry took over, babies were born and feeding, cleaning, and caring consumed the day. All of a sudden it seemed more important to categorize, organize and find a way to survive. We didn’t have time to be personal.
Being personal is work. To our great chagrin, we realize that going the extra mile to know someone or care for them when they’re ill or search for that one thing that will really make them smile–that all takes a good bit of time and effort. In our overwhelmed and often saturated lives, it’s so much easier to hit the one-stop shop, buy generic, throw it in a bag and call it good.
Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not all bad. Sometimes the fact that we thought of a person and got something to them to let them know is as personal as it gets. It counts. I’m talking about habit or mode of being…kind of like the neighbors who crossed to the other side of the road because they didn’t have time or inclination to care for the injured Jew on the road. Then along comes a Samaritan and he not only reaches out but goes to great trouble and expense to help, return, check on and get the man back on his feet.
I want to be like that. I want to move past young ideas of what it means to see people and the state they’re in. I want to cultivate a heart that freely reaches out with thoughtfulness to those God brings my way. I want to make sure that the Christ seen in me is the One who welcomes, embraces regardless of status, and sees what’s needed now. I want to be part of all the little miracles of healing, caring, noticing, and tending so that hearts are taken off guard and touched by wonder.
Isn’t that who God is? The One who sees us and touches our hearts in just such a way that we feel a bit of wonder. And thankfulness. And gladness.
Over time, isn’t that how transformation can begin?
I’m pretty sure it is.
ACTION: If your 3 best friends were to describe you, what would they say? How do you want to be more personal with the people in your world?