I had the opportunity to pilfer through a large warehouse full of furniture recently. It was hot, stuffy, dim, dirty, and massive. It was great! I had a mental list of things I was looking for, and honestly, I could have spent hours in there, except the people who worked there wanted me to leave so they could go home. Sigh.
Basically, this warehouse is where used hospital office furniture goes to… wait. It waits to see if anyone will reclaim it, or if it will be auctioned off. It’s like an elephant graveyard of chairs, desks, file cabinets, and tables. Some of the stuff was in pretty good shape, but some of it had seen hard days. Some people don’t take care of their office furniture. This place exists because some people get to have new office furniture. That’s not me. I get to plow through the leftovers and play flea market flip! Fine by me.
As much as I loved plowing through all the grime to find my treasures, the warehouse is a sad sort of place. I mentioned it’s hot and grimy, but there’s more. It’s sort of a hopeless kind of place. Everything in there has been rejected by someone. Everything in there has been deemed no longer needed. Not worthy.
It made me think about people and how the world can be like that warehouse. The world is full of people without hope. It’s full of people who have been rejected or deemed no longer needed. Not worthy. It’s full of people who wait to see if they can somehow be redeemed and made worthy once again.
Some of that furniture was beyond redemption. Lots of it really needed to be taken to the junkyard or landfill. If I am not careful, I can allow myself to look at people in that same way. Sometimes in my judginess I wonder if some people really should get a do over… a second chance. A hundredth chance. I want to give up on them. Off with their heads! I want to sit in condemnation of them, listing all the things they are doing wrong and all the things they should be doing right. How holier than thou of me.
I was reminded this week that people are not what they do. Even the Apostle Paul got frustrated when he did the things he didn’t want to do, and couldn’t seem to do the things he wanted to do. How often do we stop and really look at a person the way God looks at them? He sees them through eyes of complete love. He adores them. He may not love what they’ve done, but the person? Oh, He loves that person. The one He created with tender loving care and intention.
Most of the time, I tell myself that I don’t have time for these people. The forgotten ones. I’m in a hurry, and really they need to get their own mess together. I’m too busy keeping my mess together to fool around with them. But when I do… when I stop and really look at them… I mean really look at them, suddenly their value calls out to me. Their worth pushes itself to the front, and for a moment I realize what a clod I’ve been. I realize that they long to be noticed, and to be valued. When I look into their eyes for more than just a passing instant, I see them. And I value them. And it changes everything for them in that moment. It changes something in me, too. For a moment they remember what it means to matter to someone. And I am reminded that I am called to care.
We all need to matter to someone.