To Really Elizabeth Mason

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4

I have challenged myself with something this year and I wanted to challenge you with it today too…

To really SEE everyone around us.

As we go about our day, instead of constantly thinking about ourselves, our world, our to-do lists or staring at our phones at all hours of the day… lets just look up. Notice the people around us. Look them in the eye and say hello. Or say thank you, I appreciate you. Or have a nice day. Or I like your shirt. Or your hair is pretty.

This isn’t hard stuff. So, then why do we have to make such an effort to remind ourselves to do it?

Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

As much as I hate to admit it, looking out for the interests of others, like it says in Philippians 2:3-4, is some sort of sacrifice, big or small. It’s easy to be selfish but thinking about others and sharing what we have is what pleases God.  

We can get so focused on ourselves that we’re oblivious to other people around us. Sometimes we don’t even see them. That person near us at the coffee shop. Or the exhausted mom at the library. Or the co-worker on the elevator who is stressed to the max. The person holding a sign on the side of the road. What if we actually noticed them?

Like that person we pass on the sidewalk that is clearly having a rough day, what if we looked them in the eye and just said ‘hello’ or ‘hang in there’ and ‘have a nice day?’ What if that hello was the only thing anyone said to them that day? I’d say that could make a pretty big impact. What if we glanced up from our phones and our purses and our kids and looked at the cashier at the grocery store, the gas station or at the mall gave them a big smile and told them we appreciated them. What if we really asked them how they were doing? What if we really prayed for them by name? Truly, prayed for them

It’s not like it takes much. But what it does take is a willingness to die to ourselves for one second and think about someone else. Think about their needs and think about how God loves them. He made them. He sees them.

Down deep isn’t that all we want sometimes? Just to be seen. Heard. Acknowledged. Significant.

The best news is that God has already promised to do that for us. He will always, always hear you and see you and know you.

That promise from God has been such great truth for me lately on days when I feel alone or overwhelmed. He knows the desires of my heart. He reminds me that I’m loved and significant.

I wanted to share a fun, tangible activity for all of us to do this week. My daughter brought home a paper bag she decorated at Bible school a few weeks ago. On the outside she wrote, ‘Jesus loves you!’ (and of course surrounded it with plenty of pink sparkly heart stickers.) Inside, was a note with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10).  After reading the parable, they instructed us to fill the bag with a water bottle, granola bar and any other non-perishable item. Then leave the bag in your car as you drive around town. Keep your eyes open for someone longing to be seen. Hand them the bag, look them in the eye, ask them their name. Tell them you’ll be praying they know God’s love for them. And then really do it. Really pray for them by name! What an incredible gift this could be.

Let’s let go of our excuses and our selfishness and really SEE those around us.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

Lord, thank you for your promise that you see us. You made us. You think we’re significant and special. I pray you would soften our hearts so we can see others around us and remind them that they’re significant, too. Thank you for being our perfect example of how to die to ourselves by sending Jesus to die for us. May we never forget that sacrifice and live in a way that shows others your great big love for each of us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Elizabeth Mason has been a part of Valley MOPs since moving to Des Moines in 2012. She is the mom of two girls, Reese (4) and Lucy (almost 2) and the biggest cheerleader for her husband of seven years, Mark, who is a Surgery Resident at Methodist Hospital downtown. Despite the crazy cold winters, the Mason family has enjoyed their transition from Texas to Iowa. And they’re especially thankful for what God has done for them through Valley Church.