I live in Florida, on the Atlantic side, it’s hard not to have collections of sea shells. Cleaning the garage I found a plastic grocery bag discarded from a beach outing months ago. Inside were a couple dozen shells.
I told myself ‘no more shells, just toss these’. Then I couldn’t help it, I had to at least briefly sort through them. As they sifted through my fingers I saw familiar shapes and colors. Just as I was about to toss them I felt a couple of odd shapes. Two that aren’t as common to find. Treasures almost discarded.
Sometimes we can feel like that. Unappreciated, unnoticed, unneeded – discarded.
Sometimes, ouch, we cause others to feel that way. We drive by the man with the sign that says ‘Hungry’ and turn our head. We pass by the nursing home, hoping we never find ourselves there. We don’t have a kind word for someone different than us in line or wherever we are.
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NIV)
Jesus doesn’t miss even one face in the crowd. He sees us as treasures – you, me, the homeless, the handicapped, the foreigner, the poor, the rich. His hand always extended, His heart longing – an invitation to accept Him. And when we do, considering us precious and dearly loved.
“Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.” (Luke 7:44 NIV)
Those at the gathering saw her as worthless, a woman of the street, behaving shamefully. They averted their eyes, they whispered. Jesus knew her heart and He knew Simon’s. Hers was repentance and longing for forgiveness, restoration. Simon’s was judging, conceit, only wanting man’s approval.
Next time we see the sign that says ‘HELP’, can we at least acknowledge them, smile, perhaps say hello? Find a few minutes to ask a senior citizen to tell us about the old days? Make someone feel comfortable who doesn’t feel like they fit in?
I almost missed it – the treasure He sees…