We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
Our church provides these little cards as a way to connect the love of God to simple acts of kindness: leaving an extra tip for a server; paying for the meal or the cup of coffee for the person behind you in the drive through line; sending a note of encouragement, etc.
I picked up a fresh little stack of the cards after service last Sunday and left them sitting out on the console of my car. A couple of days later, I randomly decided at the last minute to swing by Starbucks on my way to work. Sitting in the line, I (prayer-lessly) glanced down at my little stack of cards and picked one up. I then, almost instinctively, peeked in my rearview mirror. A man, not much older than me, was pulling up behind me in a large, shiny SUV...
And here is where this story goes (even more) ridiculously, sinfully wrong: In that one UN-spirit-filled moment, I completely judged the internal needs of another human being based solely on the presentation of his external appearance. I never even consulted the Lord.
I'd like to say I was wholeheartedly convicted in that moment just in time to redeem myself, but I wasn't. I simply put the card down, paid for my drink and went on my merry way not thinking about it again. In fact, it was several days later that the Lord convicted my heart about it. My next trip to Starbucks was more intentional - I prayed during the drive that the Lord would send whomever He wanted behind me in line that morning and that it would be someone who needed a small act of kindness and a reminder of His love for them. I didn't pray or even wonder about what kind of car this person would drive or what they would look like...
I suddenly envisioned myself in someone else's rearview just a few short years ago. No one would've ever glanced up and thought I needed help of any kind. And then it hits me: The time in my life when it appeared that I had the most was the time in my life when I was the most empty and the most desperate for Christ.
As believers, especially those of us who live in the comforts of middle class suburbia, we are all longing to reach the unreached, longing to serve the underserved, the needy and the poor, but I am wholeheartedly convinced that some of the most needy people within our reach are those in our own back yards, within our gated communities, next to us in the grocery store line or even behind us in the Starbucks line. In our humanness, we are so easily prone to fall into the trap of erroneously using socioeconomics as a gauge for spiritual depravity.
I may have missed an opportunity to share with someone that morning, but the Lord did not miss the opportunity to teach me an invaluable lesson based on the truth of his word: Truly, "the Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." ~ (1 Samuel 16:7) We divvy ourselves up according to our status and lifestyles and zip codes and all sorts of things that the Lord does. not. even. see.
Step out on the busy street.
See a girl and our eyes meet.
Does her best to smile at me.
To hide what's underneath.
There's a man just to her right,
Black suit and a bright red tie.
Too ashamed to tell his wife
he's out of work, he's buyin time.
Are all those people going somewhere? Why have I never cared?
I've been there a million times.
A couple of million lives.
Just movin past me by,
I swear I never thought that I was wrong.
But I wanna second glance so give me a second chance
to see the way you've seen the people all along.
Give me your eyes for just one second,
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give me your love for humanity.
Give Me Your Eyes lyrics, Brandon Heath
Oh, Lord, give me your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity!