Summary: People were Jesus’ highest priority and should be ours.
INTRO.- Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to do good, to heal, to soothe hearts and calm fears. He came to help people. His focus was on people. People were His highest priority and should be ours.
ILL.- Robert Henry went to a large discount store one evening to buy a pair of binoculars. As he walked up to the counter he noticed that he was only customer in the area. Behind the counter were two salespersons. One was talking on the phone and refused to acknowledge him. The other was at the end of the counter, unloading merchandise.
Robert became very impatient and walked to the end of the counter where the salesperson was and asked for help. She said, "You got a number?" "I got a what?" asked Robert. "You got a number? You gotta have a number."
Robert replied, "Lady, I’m the only customer in the store! I don’t need a number. Can’t you see how ridiculous this is?" But the lady insisted that Robert take a number before agreeing to wait on him. It was obvious that she was more interested in following certain procedures or rules than helping the customer.
So Robert got a number from the machine. It was number 37. He walked back to the lady. The saleslady looked at her number counter, which revealed the last customer who have been waited on was number 34. She called out, "Number 35...number 36... number 37."
Robert said, "I’m number 37." "May I help you?" asked the lady without cracking a smile. "No," said Robert as he turned and walked away.
COULD YOU BLAME HIM? Any time we are more interested in procedures or rules of order than caring about people we have missed the mission of God!
Jesus often broke all kinds of rules in order to minister to people and demonstrate love to them. Jesus crossed boundaries and broke the law in order to minister to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).
People need people. We humans need one another. This truth came home to me again last week when my twin sister and I attended our 40th high school class reunion in Webb City, MO, on Friday and Saturday night. Let me tell you about some of my former classmates.
ILL.- Bob Foster and I went to school together for all our 12 years. Bob now has MS. He’s been battling it for 20 years. He went on disability in 1990. Bob told me he has chronic MS, which means he is in constant pain. However, he did not show it at our reunion. Bob has to walk with the help of a cane. He is quite thin and aged looking.
He has a morphine pump either implanted in his side or plastered to his side. I don’t know which. He said it pumps a certain amount of morphine continually into his body to help dull the pain. And that’s all the morphine does. It just dulls the pain.
We talked about several things and he told me how he felt the Lord was helping him to get through life. He talked of praying often and who wouldn’t in his condition? Bob had a smile for everyone at that reunion. I never once heard him complain.
People need people. Bob needed me and I needed Bob. I needed to hear Bob’s story to make me realize how blessed I am in regard to my health and he needed my listening ear and compassion. And Bob, like many others, needs our prayer support.
ILL.- Linda Glassburner lost her husband 15 years ago and has stayed a widow. Couldn’t blame her after hearing her story, but I’m sure that in some ways, she’s lonely. Kathy Barr just lost her husband a year and a half ago. She said after they discovered her husband had pancreatic cancer he lived only three weeks. She was devastated. Still is in some ways. Bless her heart.
ILL.- Chuck Thornberry is retired. I think his health made him retire. He was working for some company that flew him around the world in regard to sales. Chuck is way overweight and looks far older than his 58 years. He told me he had a massive heart attack some years ago and should have never lived through it. He had five bypasses. He said prior to his heart attack he was smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day and drinking coffee by the gallons, or so it seemed. The stress of life and work got to him and his health broke.
Chuck said to me, "I now know that the Lord has a purpose for my life. I just don’t know what it is." I said something like, "Yes, He does. Keep searching and the Lord will show you."