If you’ve ever gone to watch an orchestra playing, you’d be amazed at how the whole thing happens. But I’m not a very good musician as such. But these professional musicians in an orchestra, they’ve got years of training. They’re very good, usually at their work. But what is it that makes an orchestra so appealing? You’ve got a lot of different instruments. They’ve got great harmony.
A violin is distinct from a trumpet and oboe sounds nothing like the bass drum. And a piccolo doesn’t sound like a cello. But the goal of an orchestra is not to get all the instruments to make the same sounds. Rather, the aim is to blend the instruments together to create a pleasing group sound. Now, suppose the first violin said, “What’s wrong with that person over there? It’s the oddest-looking object that makes a strange sound. What about that viola?” I know that’s a fairly silly illustration, but here’s what I’m trying to say. Each instrument has a definite role to play in the group.
Think of it like this. Each person you meet in life is special, unique and has something wonderful to contribute. Our problem is what’s called the BLM affliction. What’s BLM? It stands for “be like me”. We think everyone has to be like us. We want others to think and live like we do. And at our deepest level, we feel if everyone could be just like me, the world would be a better place now. It’s not very wise thinking, because just like the orchestra, everyone is different. There’s a skill and talent for each of us. Everyone has their own personality. Talents, likes, feelings, thoughts and everything that makes them tick. So everyone matters. I recall the story of the university student being given a quiz by a visiting professor.
The question at the bottom of the page was, what is the first name of the woman who cleans the school? Is this some kind of a joke? Students had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was a tall, dark-haired woman in her fifties, but how would they know her name? So the professor handed in the paper, and just before the class ended, one student asked if that question could count toward a grade.
Absolutely, he said in your career, you’ll meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello. When I read the Bible, it says very clearly that we are to love each other and treat others with care and respect, Jesus said – “I’m giving you a new command that you must love each other just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” That’s in John’s Gospel Chapter 13. The basis of Christianity is that because God loves us so much, we do need to love and appreciate each other, even those who are different to us. Of course, everyone is different. We live and work with people who are not the same as us. The Bible says. “Don’t be jealous or proud. Be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourself.” That’s from Philippians Chapter 2. Now, it’s not always easy.
It often takes a patient faith and determination, but in the end it’s worth it. This caring is very powerful stuff. It can actually order and anchor our lives and caring for others not only helps them grow and be transformed, it helps us in the same way. When David Livingston died, he was 1000 miles from Zanzibar and 56 natives who had gone with him across the bar, took his body and removed his heart. They said his heart belongs to Africa, for he loved Africa. So they buried that heart beneath a tree. And they carried his body with all his belongings 700 miles across the wild, undergoing all kinds of dangers. And finally they buried his body in every single article that he’d had on the coast of Africa. His heart was left beneath that tree in the heart of Africa because he spoke the language of humanity and the language of love.
David Livingston knew that every person mattered and he gave his life to serve others. What a tremendous example.
Yes, Lord, we know it’s true that every person matters, even those that I might shy away from. I have no right Lord to judge. People are different to me. Help me to understand the importance of love.