Several years ago, a counselor told a story about an episode he experienced. The event had taught him a lot about himself; some of which he didn't like seeing. He said that as a young man he had longed to teach children about the Bible. An elderly lady in the neighborhood wanted to help him, so she opened her home and invited the neighborhood children to listen to him teach. The man was very appreciative of her generosity and wanted to be respectful of her and her home. During the story he noticed one young boy pulling the fiber filling from her well used overstuffed chair. He stopped the story and reprimanded the young man. Immediately the elderly lady gave him a look that showed her disagreement. After the children had gone home the counselor explained his action to the hostess. She replied, "Well, I have always believed people were more important than things."
Now most of us would have done exactly what the counselor had done. Children should not be allowed to deliberately destroy the possessions of someone else. But put yourself in the place of the child. He had come to the house to hear about the love of God, but left remembering being reprimanded in front of his peers. Did he remember the story? We'll never know. Did he ever accept Christ as Savior? We don't know. He stopped pulling the fiber filling, but is that important when he faces his maker?
If asked what is important to us, most of us would reply something grand like 'people' or 'world peace'. If someone else were asked what was important to us, what would they answer? Do others see in you what you say is important or do your actions tell them something else?
Recently a pastor friend asked to visit us at the lake. He was looking forward to fishing with my husband and relaxing. The stress of the ministry had taken a toll on his spirit. My husband and I prayed that we would be a blessing to him and minister to his needs. When he arrived we showed him around our house and instructed him to make himself at home. He did!! Over the three days, when he wanted coffee, he opened a cabinet, took down a cup, opened a drawer, took out a spoon, poured his coffee and went into the den. The cabinet and drawer were left open. He never closed a door behind himself. He never picked up after himself. I became a little frustrated, but remembered the prayer my husband and I had sent up. Lord, help us be a blessing to him and minister to his spirit. Immediately I redirected my focus from his behavior to his need. I quietly closed the door behind him--every time he left the room. Was it irritating? Absolutely. Do I believe it was what the Lord would have me do? Without a doubt!
My husband is not very good about picking up after himself. It is something I decided long ago was not worth fighting. A visitor in my home recently complained about his behavior. Immediately I remembered a couple of weeks after my knee surgery when I was so much pain I was unable to sleep. I saw my husband sit up in bed and thought He must be going to the bathroom. I saw him walk away from the bathroom and toward my side of the bed. He threw back the covers and began massaging my foot and injured leg. After about 10 minutes, he replaced the cover, walked back to his side of the bed, climbed in and went back to sleep. During the entire episode, neither of us said a word. He didn't asked if I wanted a massage. He didn't asked if I was in pain. He recognized my need and rushed to meet it. When I am picking up after this very messy man, I think about the wonderful things he does for me. I choose to focus on the blessings rather than the irritating behavior. Do I remind him to pick up his things? Yes. Does it do any good? No. That's alright. I want him to know that the blessings are more important to me than the behavior.
Do your loved ones know what is important to you? Do they feel important to you? Do visitors in your home feel important to you? Are people more important to you than your personal possessions or routine? What was important to Christ? How many times did the disciples ask Him to send the people away? Did He?????