His mother expected him to be disappointed so made some fresh cookies and had them out with milk waiting for him, hoping it would ease the pain of maybe not getting many Valentines himself. As expected, down the street after school, here comes Chad, head down behind the other kids, empty-handed. As he entered the house, his mother, holding back the tears of disappointment for her son, heard him say, “Not a one. Not a one.” Her heart sank. Then he looked up at her and said: “I didn’t forget a single one!”
It’s easy to love someone who loves you back. We all have friends that we spend time with at parties, travel on vacations with and most often just hang out with. We invite them over to our home, and in turn, we go to theirs. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and family milestones. We’ll check on them when they are sick, taking food, watching their kids, and making sure they are okay.
There are two things about Chad in the story above that bring out some thoughts. First, there are a lot of Chads in our world. There are those who have few friends and are often alone, living a lonely isolated life. They aren’t invited over for dinner or to hang out with the group. They don’t receive cards and phone calls on their birthday and will often celebrate it in the privacy of their own home alone and feeling unloved. Sometimes they are outcast because of how they look or act. Sometimes for unknown reasons they are just left to themselves. They are the Chads of society with few friends, seemingly invisible to those around them.
However, another thing about Chad that stands out is that he sees people in a different light. He wants to make sure that everyone in his class feels recognized with a Valentine. He’s not concerned about just a few but every one of them. To Chad, there are no outcasts, only classmates. His pride comes when he knows he didn’t leave anyone out. He didn’t forget to show his “love” for each one no matter who they were or how they treated him.
What about us? Do we pay attention to those who others shun? Do we have the eyes of Jesus in seeing the lonely and forgotten? Jesus was always seeing people with different eyes than others. He looked at a leper and saw a man who wanted to be healed and reached out and touched him. He stopped cold when touched by a woman in the crowd and loved her. He passed by a blind beggar and felt compassion for him.
Yes, it’s easy to love someone who loves us back. Just think what the world would be like if each of us took the time to give a Valentine to the lonely or to invite someone who never gets invited to a party. Every Christmas we invite some of our friends and Bible class over for a party. One thing we always do is to try and invite some who we know will probably not be invited anywhere else. It’s a simple gesture for us, but a light in the life of someone who feels alone.
Take time to send a card or note to someone who is lonely. Let those in the world who may feel unloved know that they are just as important as everyone else in your eyes and the eyes of Jesus. Look for the Chads in your life and show them, Jesus.
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ