“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’” John 4:10
We have a saying in our family, “You know who your friends are because they ask you how you’re doing and then stick around to listen.”
It’s easy to say that we value people, that we appreciate them. There is intrinsic value, placed by God, in everyone. But do are interactions with people reveal it?
There’s another saying that we use in our home, “Who are you going to be ‘Jesus with skin on’ for today?” It comes from the story of a young child that was frightened by a particularly intense lightning storm. Several times the child crawled into bed with her parents in the middle of the night in tears. Each time the parents reassured the tot that Jesus did not give her the spirit of fear. Finally, when child and parents had all reached their limit of sleep deprived frustration, the father said, “Just go back to sleep; Jesus is with you.” To this, with tears streaming down her cheeks, and with wisdom beyond her years, the youngster said, “Yeh, but I need someone with skin on!”
The obvious lesson for our family is, “who are you going to minister to today?” It’s a reminder of the cliche’, “You’re the only Jesus someone will meet today.”
But let’s look at it from another perspective. Who has God placed a gift in for you, today? Who is going to ask you for something today, who is going to make a demand on you, that is actually “Jesus with skin on?”
Almost certainly someone, perhaps someone barely an acquaintance, is going to cross my path. It might go something like this…
While walking down the street I recognize someone, but can’t quite place the name. I’m sure that I’ve seen them before…church! That’s it, they’re from church. Bible study, I think. Oh, yeh. They’re the one that never seems to have a job. They’re always asking for prayer. I wonder, “Why can’t they get a job? They must be lazy and not trying very hard”
I begin to look for a chance to cross the street, but it’s too late, I’ve caught their eye.
I nod and say, “Hi.”
They respond with the guy chin, “Good morning.”
Being sure not to slow my gate I ask, “How are you, today?”
“Fine, and you?”
“Great, it’s good to see you, again.”
My steps quicken and I move on.
It’s easy to look at this scenario and wonder what blessing I missed bestowing on “what’s-his-name.” But let’s look at it from another perspective. What blessing did I miss that “what’s-his-name” had for me?
Sure, it would have been a blessing for me to bless him. But that’s so predictable. It might even border on self-righteous and arrogant. It assumes that he wouldn’t have a blessing for me. If I had truly known, and believed, the gift of God in that other person perhaps he would have been a “cool drink of water” (Prov. 25:25) for me.
Maybe, just maybe, they would’ve had a word of encouragement for me. Maybe today would have been the day they told me of the answered prayer. Stopping long enough to speak with even “the least of these” is believing in the intrinsic value God has in each other.
Who am I going to discover God in today?