Did you notice?

… but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”

Matthew 19:14

I had no idea!”

Do you remember the last thing that caused you to say that phrase?

I said it last week while I was reading a co-worker’s report on everything she and her team had done to set up our recent multi-faceted concert and event at church. I mean, it really should not have come as a surprise to me that there were TONS of details involved with each one of the facets of that event.

Because hey… if you are going to have s’mores, somebody needs to straighten out some coat hangers, don’t they? Somebody has to gather wood and build a fire, don’t they?

I certainly should have known about all of those details. I am the pastor of the church, after all, and she works right outside my office door. You’d have to be dense not to notice all of the wheels that were spinning for those several weeks leading up to the event.

How many other times have you said that same phrase? “I had no idea!” I also remember saying it when I was watching the news and saw some of the workouts and drills the Kansas City Chiefs were doing. I blurted out, “I had no idea they did all that stuff!” Or what about when you see everything that is involved in putting on a play or some other kind of dramatic production… “I had no idea what is involved!” you say… awestruck.

The fact of the matter is if we took the time to REALLY stop and listen and understand we would probably discover that we could say that about every single person we meet. We THINK we know who they are and what makes them tick but it will almost always – scratch that – it will always be the case that there is much more going on inside that person than we can possibly imagine.

There is much more MYSTERY. There is much more DEPTH. There is much, much more GREATNESS that lurks just below the surface with every one of YOU and with every other person you meet. And most of the time you and I just breeze right on by it… completely absorbed in OUR issues and OUR lives to the exclusion of everything else.

And THAT is just one more way we encounter the genius of Jesus. He was a NOTICER. He noticed things other people didn’t. He considered God to be present in every encounter, every moment, every situation he found himself in. He knew that every step he took was a step taken on holy ground and he treated it that way.

In Jesus’ time, children – especially young children – occupied an even lower social status than women. They provided no productive value to the family or society. They were seen as a nuisance to be managed and their presence minimized. And yet in this passage of scripture, Jesus says, “Let them come to me because it is to such as these that belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Jesus noticed. He noticed people others didn’t. He noticed situations others ignored. He noticed the overlooked, the disregarded, the unseen of the world. Jesus calls us to notice, too. And the next time we find ourselves saying, “I had NO IDEA,” let that serve as a reminder to us to NOTICE and then to LOVE the world we inhabit. 

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