A few years ago, a guy Chris and I know asked us what it would look like if we viewed people as “kingdom people”. If we really thought of people as “kingdom people”, how would that change things?
At first I pretty much thought the guy was smoking something funny. For real! I had no clue what he was talking about. Some of you may be shaking your heads thinking “This is so obvious, Stephanie!” But for me it wasn’t. Some people love getting deep into scripture and talking nuances of the Bible and religion, but that’s not me! I’m a simple girl. Yeah, I want to learn more about God, but I’m not that big into the details of everything. I’m good to just try loving God the best I can most of the time.
So, yeah, I thought the guy’s question was a little too out there for me.
But then it stuck with me. I couldn’t get past it. It nagged and nagged and nagged the crud out of me.
I don’t even remember all the initial things I thought about this question, but man, I thought a lot about it.
At some point, I decided to run a little experiment where I wanted to try to see Jesus in every person I came across. One of the biggest things that I got out of this experiment was that I absolutely loved looking into peoples’ eyes as they were talking to me. To me, if you look into peoples’ eyes, it screams Jesus! Well, at least after this experiment. I’ve never been a big eyes person. Girls growing up would be all ooshy gooshy (that’s a real thing, right?) about eyes. It was like the first thing every girl noticed about someone…except me. I’ve just never been all that into eyes. So it was weird to me when I started this little experiment and I immediately started connecting with people through their eyes. And it was even more weird that it seemed like people were really digging it too. Like it made a difference to them that I was really listening and searching for God in their eyes. But that wasn’t all. I’m also not a good small talk person. If I don’t know you all that well, I’m really not good at talking to you. Never have been. I’ve gotten better about it to where it’s not completely awkward anymore, but it’s just not my favorite thing to do. But if you’ve known me my whole life, well you know, you can’t shut me up! But anyway, suddenly it was like I was connecting with people like it was nothing! I seemed to not only connect better but also make the other person feel a little more at ease. Our church has a helping agency where they give out food and financial assistance. Hundreds of people come to our church building each week in a big mess. And when I talked with these people, there was something there that wasn’t there before. I was seeing Christ in them immediately! There was even one lady on a Wednesday night that I was in a group with. We didn’t talk except for introducing ourselves, but then after it was over, she came and motioned for me to come over. I had no clue what was about to happen, but this lady shared with me the serious struggles that she was currently facing, how she felt about them and asked for prayers. I still don’t know why she picked me, but I really feel like with me trying to see Christ in her, she connected with me. And I was blessed beyond belief by that conversation!
Fast forward a few months, and one day I was driving in my car headed to begin my Church Administration certification class. I was rocking out to Christian music, and the song “Twenty-first Time” came on. And when it got to the part that goes:
He may be a drifter who’s grown old and gray
But what if it’s Jesus and I walk away
I say I’m the body and drink of the wine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time
something hit me like a bag of bricks. This was the answer to that question about “kingdom people” that I had been wrestling with for so long! At least an answer for me. Now, see if this makes any sense. You may think I’m the one smoking something funny.
If we are all made in the image of Christ (we are!), then we could almost say that we all have Christ in us (I’m not talking saved or not). So really, every single person that we ever run across could be Jesus…in a way is Jesus. And if I really think this, then I should be treating every single person on this planet as if they were Jesus.
I’m not sure that this is the answer that our friend was wanting, but for me, at this time in my life…this is my answer.
So that brings me to my next question. If Jesus was standing in front of me, how would I treat him? How would you treat him? And if I truly believe that we are all made in his image…that we are all “kingdom people”, how would that really change the way that I see people, interact with people, etc.? Honestly, I’m still wrestling with this question, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Maybe someday when I get this question all figured out in my head, I’ll have another post sharing my conclusion. But right now, I’m still not sure what that looks like. But I do know that I want to keep looking for Christ in all people, and I want Christ to use me and all my mess to reach the world, my friends, my neighbors, etc. for him.
So be it!
I think that is exactly what Matthew 25:40 teachers “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Can’t wait to hear of more stories of where you encounter Jesus 🙂