The teen-agers laughed and jostled each other as they climbed into the van. Brett and I stifled yawns while longing for an afternoon nap. After all the seat belts clicked into place, Brett started up the van and we headed off on a grand adventure to the mountains for an afternoon hike to a waterfall.
Brett pulled into a parking space and the teenager’s tumbled out of the van. After rounding them up and calming them down Brett gave the kids instructions to get to the waterfall and what time they needed to get back to the van. Teenage legs sprang into action and the sound of feet slapping down the dirt path disrupted the quiet of any woodland animals trying to take an afternoon nap. Aspen’s legs and feet joined the fray as she did her best to keep pace with her favorite kids. Brett and I tried to keep an eye on her and enjoy the company of another adult couple on the hike at the same time. The wife of the other couple is a nature enthusiast and enjoyed stopping to ooooooh and ahhhhhh over the woodland spring flowers. She seemed to know them all by name. You could definately tell where her heart was.
I doubt the kids who raced ahead of us noticed any of the newly blooming flowers. They were so focused on getting to the end of the path they noticed very little about the journey along the way. I noticed some of the pretty flowers, but not with the same interest as the other woman because I was distracted by keeping an eye on Aspen.
It got me to thinking about how similiar this was to life itself, especially church life. As we hike our way through church each Sabbath, from the car to the front door, the front door to the hallway, the hallway to Sabbath School, Sabbath School to the worship service, the worship service to the hallway, the hallway back to the car and then home, how often do we really see the things around us? How open are we to seeing beautiful things (especially in people) that God has planted?
Just for fun, If Jesus walked into your church dressed in modern clothing with and an updated hair cut next weekend, would you recognize Him? Is your relationship with Him so close that you would recognize Him just by His presence? Sounds far fetched I know, but how about seeing Jesus IN people around you? Just like my friend who could pick out the rare beauty that went unnoticed by the rest of us, do we know Jesus so well that we can recognize His work and presence in the people around us?
Next Sabbath, slow down and take your time on your “walk through” church. Don’t let yourself be distracted by the end goal (potluck or the hope of a nap) or the worries of life take away your focus. Look for the beauty of God’s presence in others, then they will be able to see it in you.