Friday, October 21, 2011

Making friends with tree people ...

Gym members were almost running to the front desk to complain about the young woman on the squeaky eliptical machine.

It wasn't an ordinary squeak. It was so loud, the noise could be heard (painfully) in the far corners of the large, busy, noisy gym.

Everyone noticed the grating sound ... except for the young woman on the eliptical. She had her ear buds firmly planted in her ears and was oblivious to everything and everyone around her. Including the horrible noise she was generating.

When a couple members tapped her shoulder and explained the eliptical machine she was on was squeaking rather loudly, she smiled and explained she only had 10 more minutes left, then turned her attention back to her workout.

The young woman didn't give any consideration to what the members told her, or even think the noise may be annoying to others. Or consider there were several other eliptical machines around her no one was using, so making a change would be easy. But since the loud noise didn't bother her, she wasn't going to let it become a bother to her.

Some people live loudly ... and not in a good way. They're focused on what they are out to accomplish for themselves, and don't give any heed to how that may affect others.

But how we move through life does affect others. Our lives cross the paths of more people than we ever give attention to, but many of them notice us more than we would ever guess.

A few years ago, I had a lunch meeting with a businessman who was oblivous to our server. When she brought our food, freshened our water, and generally took good care of us, he never looked at her or said a word to her. She was a non-person to him, someone not to be bothered by because she wasn't significant to his life.

The team of baristas at the local Starbucks here say they dislike working Sundays the most. Why? They say the "church people" are the most rude customers they have all week.

Jesus was uniquely aware of the people around Him, especially those just on the fringes. How much more on the fringe can you be, than to be up a tree? Such was the case of Zacchaeus ...

"Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way," Luke 19:1-4.

It would be easy to miss some guy sitting in a tree. But Jesus didn't miss him. Not only did He notice him, He made him the focus of His attention:

"5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. 'Zacchaeus!' he said. 'Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today',” Luke 19:5.

Simply by taking notice of a man in a tree, and having dinner with him, a life would be saved:

"8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, 'I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!' 9 Jesus responded, 'Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost',” Luke 19:8-10.

Having an awareness of those who come into our lives can make a huge difference, for them and for us! In fact, Hebrews 13:2 says, "
Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!"

Do you give any notice or attention to the people who cross your path, even for a moment? What kind of impression and impact are you leaving behind? How can you better notice those on the fringe of your lives and touch them for Christ?



  1. This is yet another post of yours during which I say, "Yes! Someone else notices that too." I know it's not fault-finding. It's a call to our brothers & sisters be a light that brings comfort and Godly perspective in a dark world...not the single glaring bulb in a suspect's face during an interrogation.

    Once again, Scotty, thank you.

  2. Another GEM Scotty. Love this post & love the Starbucks quote as well as the Hebrews one. Its true, many Christians are quite rude when outside the church as they somehow feel themselves to be superior to non-Christian folk. Its time we stopped going to church and started being the church - the one Jesus wants us to be and not our version of His plan.

    Bless you and thanks for this word

  3. Angie, that's exactly it, to be the light of Christ!

    Thanks bro, and you're so very right about BEING the church. To be more specific, to pursue the single greatest aspect of God's will for us: to be like Christ!