People Need to be Seen

When I was in high school and college, I signed up for every service project or opportunity I could find. I was a candy striper {spellcheck is objecting to that word having only one “p”} in a nursing home. For those of you who may have done this, you know that this means I painted a lot of finger nails, filled ice buckets and listened to a lot of stories about the good ol’ days. Honestly, I didn’t appreciate it at the time. Now, I wish I had paid more attention. I have worked in soup kitchens, handed out clothing to the homeless and shingled a roof for Habitat for Humanity. Basically, if there was a sign up sheet, my name was on it.

Something changed after college. I got a full time job and, with it, bills that needed to be paid. Then, I got a mortgage and a husband and some children. Suddenly, I didn’t have the time or the money or the energy to serve – or so I thought. What I’m realizing, however, is that those are just a bunch of excuses.

Ella Bible

I was recently given the opportunity to speak to a group of ladies on “serving where you are” and my initial thought was to give a laundry list of things they could do in their communities to serve people. As I prayed and studied, however, God took me in a completely different direction.

People today are really confused about what it means to serve. Some think that random acts of kindness constitute serving others. Personally, I have been the recipient of random acts of kindness and I am a HUGE fan of someone paying for my meal at the drive thru. I just wonder if that is all that we are called to do. It seems to be a very sanitary, don’t get your hands dirty kind of service. 

Then, on the other hand, some people confuse serving with fixing. The problem with this way of thinking is that it becomes quite frustrating when you realize that there are many things you just can’t fix. You can’t make someone’s sick child well again. You can’t make someone’s spouse come back to them. You can’t pay off a family’s debt (at least, most of us can not do that.) So, when you can’t fix, you throw up your hands in frustration and walk away.

Sarah Bible

What I came up with were three ways to serve the people around you that have nothing to do with random acts of kindness or fixing someone’s problems. They are things that all of us can do regardless of how much time, money, or energy we may or may not have. I’m going to share one of them here, today. It came to me while studying the story about the woman with the issue of blood in the book of Mark.

She had been unclean for twelve years. What that meant in that day and time was that she might as well have not even existed. She was invisible. We know the story. Jesus passes by and, in one last desperate attempt for healing, she reaches out and touches the hem of his robe. Immediately, Scripture tells us, she was healed. She could have just slipped away back into the crowd. But Jesus stopped and demanded to know who touched him. Personally, I think he knew exactly who touched him. I think he knew her story. I think he knew her shame.

The disciples basically laughed and said, “Look at the crowd, There are hundreds of people touching you.” But Scripture says, “He looked around to see who had done it.” And when she came forward and knelt before him, he looked her in the eye. He did something no one had done in over a decade – he saw her and that was worth more than the healing. Sometimes, the best way to serve someone is to simply say, “I see you.”

We have all been there. We go through a season of struggling and it seems all of our friends are at the beach or Disney World. We see their pictures on Facebook and we click the “like” button because, well, there isn’t a “bitter” button. Meanwhile, we are losing sleep at night and crying in the shower and we think no one sees. There are people all around us that are suffering and desperate for someone to see. They are in the check out line at the grocery store. They are in the carpool line at school. They are in the cubicle next to us. They are in the pew in front of us. Sometimes, they are in. our. homes.

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If you want to serve the people around you, you don’t need to clear your calendar or reach for your checkbook. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is simply open your eyes and let someone know that they are not invisible.

Go out there and see someone, today. Y’all are loved.

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One thought on “People Need to be Seen

  1. Great post! It gives me a lot to think about. My introverted self struggles to look up & see people around me. It’s so much more comfortable to stay in my own world. Going to start praying that God will help me look up & see the people around me.

    Like

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