Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Looking through New Lenses

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Cor 5:16-17

Sometime back I visited an optical supply – not a retail store – to pick up new lenses for my frames.  In addition to trees, birds, and highway signs, I saw something else more clearly that day than I ever had before.


These folks – a father and daughter – knocked themselves out to greet me and make me glad I came.  They offered me a seat and a cup of coffee.  They apologized that they would need just a few minutes to install the lenses.  They stopped what they were doing and chatted with me, as if they had all the time in the world.  As we visited, they even showed me pictures of their family, including some fine-looking grandchildren.   We had never met before, and we knew only one person in common – my optometrist.  


They weren't trying to sell me anything.  I had already made the purchase and was just there to pick it up.  I think they were kind and thoughtful because of who they were, not because of who I was or what I had to offer.  My guess is that that welcomed everybody just as warmly as they did me.


What do people see when they first meet us who claim to follow Christ?  How do we see them and want them to see us?  How shall we treat someone new who walks through our doors to visit our services?  What might he or she want to tell us?  An author unknown to me has written the following piece.

I Am A Newcomer.  Won't You Please …

SMILE AT ME as I walk in the door.  You are my first impression of the church during the first few moments I am in your building, and this first impression will probably stay with me a long time.  HELP ME find my place in the service.  I will not think of your help as an intrusion.  In fact, I will remember your kindness.  SPEAK TO ME during the fellowship time before and after service.  I will know that if you care for a stranger, you care for your church family deeply.  TELL ME GOOD THINGS about the church, your elders, deacons, and minister.  I want to believe that I have come to a place where people love each other and where they believe that they are doing something exciting and important for the Lord.  NOTICE ME even if I am not a "family."  I don't want to feel invisible just because I am unmarried, a single parent, a teenager, or an older person.  TALK TO ME AGAIN the second week when I come back, and the third and fourth.  I am still not a part of your church family.  INVITE ME to become a part of some church activity or small group.  I need more contact with the church family before I can feel that I belong. 

I was a stranger, and you invited Me in … to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.  Matt 25:35, 40

Cory Collins

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