Recognizing Greatness

Through the Looking GlassI have often said that I pity anyone who isn’t from East Tennessee in the fall. With the changing of the colors, and the cool, crispness in the air, it truly is a beautiful place to be.

However, the coolness in the air prompts my mind to wander back a few years, to a time when my team and I were on our way back from the Gambia in Western Africa. We had just finished a week of ministry, it was early January, and we had a short stay in Barcelona, Spain on our trip home. Barcelona just after Christmas is a beautiful place… much of the seasonal decor is still up, and that, combined with the hustle and bustle of after Christmas shoppers and the beautiful architecture of this centuries-old Spanish city made our short stay most enjoyable.

Antonio Gaudi was a famed architect, responsible for some of the most celebrated architecture in Barcelona. When Gaudi died, half of the city of Barcelona mourned his death.

This made the circumstances surrounding his death even more tragic.

You see, three days before, Gaudi was hit by a tram. As he lay injured in the streets of Barcelona, no one would come to his aid. Cab drivers looked at his ragged attire and passed him by, afraid he wouldn’t be able to pay the fare. This renowned architectural genius died in a pauper’s hospital from those very injuries.

We pass people by for many reasons…

… the way they look;

… the way they act;

… they don’t look or talk like us;

… they see the world a little differently from the way we do;

… or, we’re simply just too busy to take the time.

However, Jesus said in Matthew 25:40…

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

In this parable, He is making it very clear that the manner in which we treat others (yes, our enemies too) is the way we treat Him. Our attitude toward Him is reflected in the way we treat those around us. The fact is that, when we pass people by, we are passing by greatness. Just like the passersby in Barcelona failed to recognize the great artist that lay wounded before them, we are passing up the opportunity to reach out to the very people Jesus died to save… people made in the image of God Almighty, who have great worth and potential in the eyes of Christ.

So… the next time you are about to pass someone by, look again. What you see in their face may be the very face of Jesus.

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