A couple of weekends ago, I had the absolute pleasure of helping my church distribute what we call "Baskets of Hope" to families in our township. Once a year, our church hands out Rubbermaid containers with a shopping list of Thanksgiving meal items. We buy the items, bring the tubs back, and then they go to various organizations around town. This year's exciting addition was our local school system. The church partnered with them to provide for families on the free and reduced lunch program who requested baskets.
My role in the handing-out process was as a check-in person. Outside. I asked not to do any heavy lifting, but I didn't know I'd be outside. I didn't even bring gloves!
Totally beside the point.
The cars would drive up, we'd ask for the postcard they received in the mail, and we'd send them along to the next "station" to get a grocery gift card and then on to their basket.
The "we" to which I refer is me and three other ladies I'd never met before. They seemed nice enough, but they didn't really talk to me; they just talked to each other unless I kind of jumped into the conversation. Otherwise they mostly ignored me and chatted with each other while I stood ten feet away reading and re-reading the names on my clipboard, waiting for the next car to come, and trying not to think about how cold I was.
That's odd, I thought to myself. Don't they know who I am?
Whoa! Hang onto that ego for just a minute. Don't they know who I am? Like I'm Donald Trump or something. Granted, a lot of people at church at least recognize me, since I'm up front doing drama and such with some frequency. But to assume I'm some big shot? That everyone just knows who I am and would therefore talk to me?
Out of line, Rach. Out of line.
Turns out those ladies don't attend our church. They don't know me from Eve. They work for the schools, and since we were handing the baskets out to school families, they were taking part in the distribution. I just assumed they were from my church because they were, well, at my church. Apart from my ego trip, the other thought that occurred to me was, "Wow, kind of unfriendly for church folk." But they weren't.
This raises two points:
1) I should have done a better job introducing myself or asking if they went to church there. I guess I didn't have a reason to think they didn't go to church there, but it's always worth asking. Who knows? Maybe they don't go to church anywhere and it would have opened up a dialogue. Think of the chance I missed because my ego was in the way. I was too busy being offended to just get in there and get to know them.
2) On both ends of this conversation, needs were being ignored. We stood out in the cold for five hours (in the middle of an empty parking lot, just the four of us), and they didn't make an effort to talk to me. Who in your life are you ignoring? Is there someone you could show kindness to that you don't? I've heard of lifelong friendships that have formed because of someone's willingness to just go over and talk to someone they wouldn't normally talk to.
Something to think about this week. If you see someone who appears to be on the outside, make an effort to say hello. Jesus didn't just talk to the cool kids. He sought out those who needed his love, not the ones who were already loved.
I'll also think about ways to be humble this week. An ongoing battle...