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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Every Person Matters

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love … made us alive together with Christ." (Ephesians 2:4-5a NKJV)

“No!” Fred said, covering his overflowing ashtray, “You can clean everything else, but my desk is off-limits.”

I complied. How could I complain? When I realized I had been assigned to a chemistry lab when I’d barely passed Chemistry 101 on my second try with a C-, I thought I’d be fired my first day. My boss, Fred, had changed my job title from “lab technician” to “stockroom supplier” which enabled me to keep my job and saved me the embarrassment of explaining my lack of chemistry knowledge.

My first day had been a blur. I had envisioned blowing up the lab while Fred explained in chem-speak how to mix chemicals, and which ones needed ice for their cool-down periods. On my second day, I had shared my predicament. Fred sighed for what felt like an eternity and said he’d find a way for me to still mix chemicals. And he did. But the might-blow-up-the-lab concoctions he took care of personally. 

This gave me tons of time to inventory the stockroom shelves, properly dispose of outdated chemicals, order new stock, and fluff Fred’s chair daily, occasionally slipping a hand-picked flower onto the edge of his desk, secretly blowing ashes onto the floor so I could sweep them up. 

Still, I wondered if I’d proven useful to Fred at all.

I never once saw Fred empty that ashtray. But more than the ashtray needed tending. Fred used tobacco and alcohol to cope with personal pain. When this became apparent to his boss, a shouting match ensued. I silently prayed the kindness Fred had shown me by permitting me to keep my job would be repaid, permitting him to keep his.

After a few tense days of no Fred, my boss showed back up.

“Gotta go to treatment. Don’t ask more,” he said.

I nodded, fluffed his chair while he fussed about it, and swept around his feet. Fred cursed as he lifted them for me to sweep there, and pointed out the spot I missed, which I gladly cleaned up. Knowing he’d holler, I lifted the overflowing ashtray. He won. The mess stayed. Not to be emptied. Ever.

I finally knew why I was there. My job wasn’t about ordering supplies, cleaning and inventorying, and certainly not about mixing lab concoctions. I was there for one reason—Fred needed to know that he mattered.

"Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29 NKJV)

In John’s gospel, we read about Jesus valuing an adulteress who had five husbands. Jesus not only spoke with her one-on-one, He went out of His way, traveling to Samaria—where Jews did not visit—to minister to her emotional and spiritual needs. Jesus valued the one. He valued the least of the least—but to Him she mattered as much as anyone. He then stayed two days sharing the same message to all the Samaritans—that each individual mattered.

Friend, who is the “Fred” or the “Samaritan woman” God has put into your life? You know what to do. Find your own way to fluff the chair, blow on the ashtray, and demonstrate to that individual that they have value.

Who is the “Fred” God wants you to minister His love to?

Heavenly Father, help me to demonstrate by my actions, that men are created with purpose, and in Your Beloved Son’s image. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Diane Virginia, used with permission.

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