Saturday, November 13, 2010

From Zero to Twenty-Eight Greets by Kim Jackson

Week 46--November 14-20
Scripture Reading: Romans 9-16; 1 Corinthians 1-14; Proverbs 10-12
Key passage for devotion: Romans 16

Five executives from the corporate office are on-site today. As they walked by my desk I attempted to greet them and introduce myself. One said a quick “Good Morning” as he slipped in to our Executive Director’s office; one nodded in my direction. To the other three I was completely invisible.

Throughout the day they passed by so closely that I could smell their cologne and note their beverage of choice. But all attempts at introductions failed except when I almost literally ran in to Mr. XYZ in the lobby, so I took the opportunity to thrust my hand into his and speak a quick greeting. It was an ultra brief and absolutely unmemorable connection. No, “connection” is not what it was at all.

Several meetings took place throughout the day in the office directly behind my desk. Our community dog, Lundi, joined these executive sessions, much to their delight.

At the end of the day, each of the corporate managers said goodbye to Lundi, petted him, and in a couple of instances, bid him adieu with phrases of great affection. And then they walked past my desk, and with an obligatory “Goodbye,” went on their way.

I have been pondering this scenario. At first I was angry and made quite a case for making the corporate big wigs look like idiots and me a victim of their self-centeredness. I said things like, “I am a hard-working, valuable part of their team and they don’t know me from Adam.” The pity party I held was long on pity and short on party.

Finally I decided to journal my feelings. I asked God to “do a Romans 8:28” and work this experience in to something good. And that he did. First of all, he reminded me that ultimately my value is found in him. And then, with grace and love, God brought to my mind times I have rushed by without speaking; when I have been too busy with my personal agenda to stop and listen to a coworker. It became clear that the finger I wanted to point could actually be pointed my way.

Next the Lord directed me to a chapter of the Bible that I will admit I’ve skimmed over in the past. Romans 16 is the conclusion of the masterpiece which is Paul’s letter to “all in Rome who are loved by God and are called his holy people.” In this chapter, Paul, who most certainly could be termed a “biggie in the brotherhood,” signs off this tremendous theological treatise in a way that exudes the value of people.

In previous readings of this passage, I breezed through the multiple personal greetings Paul extends to over 28 people, many with names I can’t pronounce. But this time, I read Romans 16 with “new eyes,” and was stunned to discover the value Paul imparts to those he greets, using such words of appreciation as:
  • Commend
  • Worthy
  • Great help
  • Grateful to them
  • Sister
  • Fellow workers
  • Co-worker
  • Stood the test
  • Dear friend
  • Who has worked very hard in the Lord
  • Outstanding among the apostles
  • Whom I love in the Lord
  • Chosen in the Lord

The take-away for me, both from my work experience and Paul’s personal greetings in Romans 16, has been a profound reminder that people have great merit; they are valuable no matter what their station in life. They are worth looking in the eye. Their names are important. Their work is meaningful. Their stories are significant.

And I, for one, don’t want to miss them. 

Read Kim's bio and her other WOW articles.

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