My wife, daughter and myself just finished a Bible Study at Hope called “Everybody Always”. The book was written by Bob Goff who also wrote “Love Does”. Bob also narrated the video series we watched over the last 4 weeks. Bob is a very entertaining host and the how he presented the Everybody Always concept is unique and kept our interest. I would highly recommend to everyone to either read the book or watch the videos.
Last week, as part of the curriculum, the DIY was to identify a place where there are people for whom the systems of society are not working, such as a public park, rescue shelter, bus station, or anywhere else where people who are intimately acquainted with struggle and even failure might be hanging out. Once there, just sit and be present for at least 30 minutes.
Well, I didn’t exactly follow the instructions to the letter, but I have been, as we probably all have been, in this kind of situation before. And it got me thinking about all of the times I have been driving in Dallas and purposely got in the middle lane at an intersection so as to avoid the homeless person on the corner asking for “help”. Or, if I was in the left turn lane, how many times did I purposely not make eye contact or looked in the other direction altogether. You’re guilty too? We all are.
These people make us uncomfortable. They look unclean, sometimes a bit scary, and we avoid any contact with them. Why? Aren’t these the exact people who Christ walked towards? Aren’t these the people who Jesus asked, no commanded, us to love? YES. But in our society, they have become INVISIBLE. It shouldn’t matter what their backstory is, we should reach out to them in some way, if nothing else to let them know that Jesus loves them no matter what. If you have a buck or two, give it up. Many of us have the mindset that, even though their little cardboard sign says, “Hungry” they really only want money. If you have something to eat in your car, give that to them. If they don’t eat it, you have at least acknowledged that they are not invisible. Maybe that will affect some change in their day or even in their life. God only knows, but the Christian thing to do is love your brother.
“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.”
The concept of Everybody Always is just that: Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself. This means friends, family, enemies, everyone. Sometimes we have difficult people in our lives that make it hard to forgive them or love them. Jesus never said it would be easy. But he said the reward for doing so would be glorious.
I challenge you to change some of your patterns of interacting with people. How many times do you greet a perfect stranger at the grocery store, or the mall, or just walking around? Most of us try not to engage anyone unless they engage us first. When they do, how does that make you feel? Like, “dang, I should have spoken first”? Or, “that was nice of them”? Well, if it makes you feel that way, why don’t you go out of your way to make someone else feel that exact same way? I went to a store years ago with my first boss. He greeted someone at the store with some pleasantries and when I asked him who they were, he replied that he had no idea. What he said to me next has stuck with me all of these years although I must admit I haven’t always performed well. He said, “Never miss an opportunity to make someone’s day.” Greeting a complete stranger with a pleasant thought can change that person’s attitude for that moment or that day or longer. This is what Christ wants us to do to Everybody Always!