The Invisible Person

You can’t do what Jesus did until you see what Jesus saw. 

One of my favorite stories about Jesus is how he gave sight to the blind.  This post is the story of how Jesus used coffee to open my eyes.  It might do the same for you. 

Let me paint a picture for you.

You’re in the Fresh Market (fancy grocery store).  It is a visual and olfactory cornucopia.  That is to say…it’s real nice, Verne.  People are in there that look like maybe they drove all the way out from the yacht club.  Some drove in from lesser country clubs, and you can sort of tell which ones those are.  Then, there’s the college students, the ones who are making daddy proud, as they wear “North Face,” tennis skirts, and drive their very own Mercedes.  Then, there’s the people like me who really are shopping above their socio-economic status, but really like premium pork.

Justin's Iphone
Justin’s Iphone

Anyhow, so there I am at the coffee stand…you know, the one where you can get coffee samples.  I was examining the Kona Blend and all the other varieties, and I saw a young woman reach in and refill the one closest to me, the Almond Amaretto.   I thought, “Great, that one is super fresh.  Better get it.”  Then, I realized something.   There was a person behind the counter.   Then,  it hit me.

I had seen the coffee, but not the coffee brewer.  I had missed the person right in front of me.  She was invisible to me. 

So, I spoke to her.  I asked her if she drank coffee…she didn’t, but, that one question lit her up like flipping a switch.   She was a thoughtful person and an excellent coffee brewer, and I am glad that I got to speak to her.  Then, I realized something…Am I the only person who has spoken to her all day?   I think she knew what I had just started to realize:  People didn’t really see her.

How many people are invisible to us?  Brain science tells us that we focus on the things that are important to us.  The things that our brains have said we need to see to survive.

Is it possible that you have missed some really important things, maybe the most important things?

Now, what in the world does this have to do with the gospels? 

Answer:  It has everything to do with them.

Jesus talks about us being judged by the way we treat the least among us.  He says that when you do good things or bad things to the least, you’re really doing it to Jesus.    Somehow he’s there.  His presence is there.

Have you ever known someone who only wanted to focus their energy and enthusiasm the “important people”?  Maybe it was an employee who is super nice to his superiors, but treats his peers and those he manages in a completely different way.  You can think of a student who treats the cool kids with respect, but won’t have anything to do with those on the fringes.  You see it in churches, you see it in rich,  and you see it in poor.  I sometimes see it in me, too.  After all, it took me months to see the person behind the coffee stand.

This brings me to a key point about the gospels.  There are these people in Jesus’ time that didn’t recognize him.  They try to trap Jesus.  They try to trick him into making a stupid mistake.  He, of course, outwits them in ways they couldn’t imagine, but the thing that I keep on thinking about is how these people could be so ignorant, so blind, so foolish that they couldn’t even see Jesus right in front of them.

Oh wait…but I couldn’t see him at the coffee stand. 

But something happened.  I saw the touch of his hand, and I opened my eyes.  I was jarred into the reality of his presence by the simple extending of a hand (yes, to refill the Almond Amaretto…but you get the point).  I didn’t realize it then, but I believe I looked up, and I didn’t just see the coffee brewer lady.  I saw Jesus.  I saw him in a unique, beautiful, valuable, human being.

So, I wrote a post about how you can read the gospels.  We talked about how the best way to read the story of Jesus is to enter the story by doing what Jesus did.

Here’s the thing.  You can’t do what Jesus did until you see what Jesus saw.    So, I ask you,  Have you seen Jesus my Lord?  He’s here in plain view.


Food for thought/Articles on Invisibility:

On the Invisibility of Black Women and Girls For Harriet                      The Invisible Poor Global Policy Forum


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