GUEST POST: I’m honored to have as a guest on my blog, Eli Hooper. He has been the Minister with Grass Valley church of Christ for 13 years. For over a decade now, he’s been a friend whose example I’ve followed as a minister, a husband, a dad, and an artist. For an example of his creativity, check out his iPad children’s book, and look him up on facebook.
Do you know the population of the city you live in?
My hometown is relatively small, with just 11,000 people in Grass Valley, CA. Some cities are much larger, like Los Angeles with a population of 3,792,621. And some cities are much, much, much smaller, like Monowi, Nebraska, with a population of 1. No joke!
Distant People in Close Proximity
Even with “just” 11,000 residents, I’m amazed at how few people I know in this place. I’ve lived here for years, but sitting at a stop light watching cars stream past me, I rarely recognize any of the faces passing by.
How do I not know more of them? After all, I bump shoulders with people through community service, helping at local schools, feeding the homeless, and even hanging out at all the public events! I go to the local fair, eat local, shop local, play local.
Yet, instead of feeling like we’re connected into one community, it feels like we’re collected into one mass. Like we’re all just a bunch of people in close proximity while collectively chanting and marching for…brotherhood? What are we missing?
I’ve always wondered about the relationship between young David, an Israeli shepherd boy, and Saul, the king of Israel. In 1 Samuel 16:21-23 we find David working for Saul as one of his armor bearers and providing comforting music for the king.
What’s interesting about this to me is that Saul was looking for a person to play music for him in verse 17, and then “introduced” to David’s family by name in verse 18. Then in chapter 17 verse 55, after David kills Goliath, Saul asks, “Whose son is this young man?” Some have considered this a mistake in the biblical record in that, “How could Saul not know who his favorite harp player and armor bearer is?” However, I see a much more serious reason for Saul not “remembering” David: SELF.
Outside My Own Little World
I’m usually so concerned with my own spiritual and physical well being that I never take the time to notice those who serve me…even in small ways. Here’s a short article I came across written by a medical student that challenges to me. It’s been passed around a lot, so maybe you have heard it…but I believe it offers a strong call to humanity:
The Cleaning Lady, by Joanne C. Jones
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark hair and in her fifties, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers you will meet many people. They are all significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’”. I’ve never forgotten that lesson…I also learned her name was Dorothy.
The Common Day-To-Day
I think the challenge to me is clear; I must look beyond myself and into the lives of others. That’s what Jesus did. The more I’m sincerely concerned about others, the more I’ll notice the doors of opportunity God opens every day.
King Saul didn’t know who David was because he didn’t notice David in the common day-to-day.
It’s one thing to notice people when we’re “supposed to” – at the concerts, the town hall meetings, the football games, etc. But it’s another thing to notice people in the common day-to-day.
Do we notice the guy wearing the business suit in line at the grocery store holding two Red bulls, an energy bar and a pink slip? Who would know he just lost his job? Do we notice the frazzled waitress who forgets to refill our coffee? Who would know her husband just left her and her kids for another woman?
I no longer believe there’s one “type” of person who is more susceptible to truth, love and community than any other. I’m convinced we all desire it deep down. But in an effort to find it for ourselves, we often ignore the living souls around us that want it too.
May we enter the common day-to-day with new eyes. May we engage the harp players and janitors, and the businessmen and waitresses. They want to be noticed just as we do.
LEAVE A COMMENT:
Share a time when you were engaged by a stranger who then became your friend.
A NOTE FROM TYLER ELLIS
Excellent post Eli! Thank you for challenging us. Reminded me of the time a “sinful” woman washed Jesus’ feet (in Luke 7). When one of the Pharisees criticized him for allowing her to do so, Jesus asked, “Do you SEE this woman?”
I was also reminded of a few songs and a movie clip, I thought I’d include for future inspiration.
Image by: Cunny1988