Thursday, April 22, 2010

who is important

Is the title a question or a statement?

An interesting word.
It comes from a cognate of the Latin word porto - to carry; to be of consequence.   Importans then would mean carrying in; being of consequence. 
So someone or something that is important has consequence.
I wonder if we have given a bit more meaning to the word, however.  We say there are importnat people in our lives.  That would mean that, in contrast, there would be unimportant people.  There are important events and unimportant events.  Can that really be true?

Have you ever witnessed someone who was helpless be treated in an ill manner by others?  Have you seen an elderly person ignored or not given preference somewhere? 
Did a cashier roll his eyes to us about a foreigner or an elderly person in line who was hard to understand taking a bit too long to manage the debit card machine?
Did we turn away?
Did we roll our eyes back.  Did we huff and shift our weight with impatience?
Did we laugh inside?
Because the person was unimportant? 
Of no consequence?

Do we search out only the important people for conversation at a party or at church?
Do we answer the emails only from the important people?
Do we entertain only those whom we wish to impress, those who can benefit us?

Did Jesus hang out only with the important people?
Did He engage in conversation only those with whom everyone else was impressed?
Did He desire change, happiness, love only for the ones who would benefit him?
Did Jesus choose to save only the "important" people in the world?

Do we get to choose who is important, who is of consequence and who isn't?

Rather, Jesus held and taught the children, engaged the harlot in conversation, healed the paralytic and the leprous and the blind, called to himself the doubters and the unwieldy.  Shall we do less?

It may be that the child to whom we stop and listen will open our eyes to something God wants us to see.
It may be that the older person with whom we stop to speak and to whom we listen will share a gem of life, a reminder of God's faithfulness.  That foreigner should remind us that we, too, are foreigners yet residents here and that we, too, are awkward at times in that already/not yet-ness of living here on this earth which we will someday reign and rule. 
The mentally and physically challenged among us show forth God's grace and wonder that ministers in mysterious ways to minds and bodies in ways we don't understand - but we may get a glimpse if we see them as important to God as we are. 

It just may be that these are the very people God puts in our way. They have a very specific purpose for us.
Have you ever moderated your normal behavior, having given thought to the cashier's behavior, then deciding to assist the one struggling rather than be smug; perhaps you interupted your cup of coffee your reading material to visit with the lonely old lady next to you; looking the little child eye to eye at church, has that child felt safe enough to tell you something and as a result, taken you in as a friend?
You changed as you "made yourself of no reputation".

"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me....."

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