By Billy Beasley
Disclaimer: We all miss the mark and that most certainly includes me. I can get wrapped up in my own little introverted world pretty easily. Sometimes we treat others with less than the warmth of the love of God simply because we are not paying attention.
As I stated earlier I am pretty introverted. I am not sure if there are many authors that are not. We tend to live in our own world of thoughts, feelings and ideas. The one place I am the most extroverted is at church where I serve on the prayer team. I take serving seriously. I don’t check it off my list to make myself feel accomplished. The word I never want to forget in regard to serving is encouragement. We all need to encourage each other. Often, I pray not only on the way to church but before running errands. Let me be an encouragement to anyone that may need it. Put me in that position. And there are times when I need it and I pray that prayer in reverse.
But you have been around Christians, maybe even staff at a church you attend or have attended in the past and they seem cold, distant, uninterested in you as a person on a habitual basis. Forgive me, I am a writer so I observe and I tune into people’s behavior while never giving myself a free pass when I don’t treat others well.
I have never forgotten something that was shared with me several years ago. A youth pastor who had moved on to another church to become head pastor was finding out that he no longer had the luxury of just hanging out with the young people. He had to give time to the people that were older because, as in most churches, they are who pay the bills. There is a lot about this statement that rubs me the wrong way but perhaps that is next month’s column. I wonder how many people this youth pastor walked by without speaking to, without engaging because he was so focused on the youth. It is natural. And that is what he was hired to do but don’t we have to be very careful that we don’t get so caught up in our calling that we are dismissive of others?
I created a fictional character in my second novel, The Preacher’s Letter. A minister who lost touch with people due to his calling as he perceived it. He was this great teacher and so important to the Gospel, in his own eyes. He was self-righteous and judgmental to anyone that did not fall in line with his wisdom. We have all met people like that. Be it a Pastor, a staff member, volunteer, or a member with an over inflated view of their importance.
Maybe you are a great teacher-a great servant. You dutifully tithe. You boast about your knowledge of the scriptures and how many people you have led to the Lord. Perhaps you sing on the worship team. You have been on countless mission trips. You have perfect attendance at your church.
Here is where is where the rubber meets the road. How do you treat people? Not just the people in your inner circle, or the people that it benefits you to be around.
In 2011, I was blessed to attend Passion in Atlanta. I should not have been there. I am certainly not a staff member of a church, then or now, and I was most definitely not a college student as most were. But God wanted me there and it played a huge role in where I am today.
The first night, Lou Giglio, spoke about being interrupted. He talked about how Jesus was going in one direction and the woman touched his robe. He allowed himself to be interrupted. That was the theme of the message that I have never forgotten.
My main calling at Lifepoint Church, where my wife and I attend is to come early and walk a circle around the auditorium before the services and to pray over the people who will fill the seats. I also pray over the pastors, the worship team, the volunteers, the audio and technology. Over all the people performing those tasks. It is important to me to do this because I felt this was a task that God had laid on my heart. Another disclaimer, I said no for a season because it meant being on the prayer team and I felt that I was not qualified. Of course, I was right, but God qualifies the unqualified.
Is it okay for me in pursuit of my important task to walk by people like they don’t exist?
I have suffered depression in my life. I have had times where I had no hope. Thankfully it has been many years since I have felt that way and by the grace of God I never will again. But we may be passing people on the way to our assignment who are down to their last remnants of hope. They may have horrible situations at home or at work. They may feel trapped. And we never know what a sincere smile and a kind word might do.
You may be gifted in many ways and very accomplished in your calling. Is that more important than how you treat people on a regular basis?
I John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
I think those actions include kindness. Being polite to others. Not dismissing someone because they are not in your world. The woman with the blood issue. Was she part of Jesus inner circle? Had he ever met her before? But he chose to be interrupted … for her.
Every person is important. Let’s don’t pass by anyone as if they don’t exist.
Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke. They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.
Billy is the author of The River Hideaway - a traditionally published work of faith based fiction and the newly published novel, The Preacher's Letter. He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
You can read Billy’s “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 2nd Sunday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.