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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Where Everybody Is Somebody

Ever get the feeling in this high-tech world that each of us is a number instead of a person? We have a Social Security number, telephone and cell phone numbers, and account numbers at the bank. The doctor's office and the hospital assign us a number and we have a number for each insurance policy we purchase. Each magazine subscription requires another account number. There are PINS ("personal identification numbers") when we use the ATM or swipe a debit card. We need a pin to log onto e-mail accounts and web-sites. Almost all of us over 45 (and some under) are interested in blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Telemarketers call to sell us a service or product they think we can't live without. They pretend to know us and use our first name (I sometimes ask for theirs and ask them how they know mine, and have on occasion asked if they would give me their number so I can call them just when THEY sit down to eat or stretch out on THEIR recliner!). And then there are politicians who promise millions of voters they want to go to the state house or White House to work just for you! In a world of nearly seven billion people it's natural to find yourself feeling like a number in a sea of nameless faces. It all makes me think of the schizophrenic who was discharged from a mental hospital after many years. He was very unhappy about his release. "But you are cured of your illness," his doctor said. "Some cure," he muttered. "When I first came here, I was Abraham Lincoln. Now I'm nobody."

We all want to be somebody, and there is one place where everybody still is! Or at least ought to be. That place is the church of Jesus Christ. Words from the apostle Paul remind us that church is about people, not pomp or power or position or programs or performance or power-point. To a good church Paul wrote, "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:4-5). In the verses that follow Paul reminds us Jesus divested Himself of His divine privileges to the point He died on the cross. A host of Scriptures teach, of course, that He did that because He values and loves us (e.g., Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 3:16). It is challenging to realize as I look up and down the pews on Sunday morning, that not one person here is unimportant to Jesus. He looked out for all of us. Just how interested is Jesus in all of us? How would He act if He were a member of the church where I worship? How would He treat people? Would there be people He wouldn't like? Would He avoid and ignore some? Would He favor people who have more beauty or brains or talent or treasure than others? Would He be put off and put out with people who have real problems and needs and even sins in their lives? Would He walk past visitors on the parking lot or in the hall or sit beside them on the pew and not speak a word or show any interest in them at all, even though He died on a cross for them? Just how important would I be to Jesus? And you? And everybody else here? The cross dramatically reminds us that, to God, everybody is a somebody. How can anybody be a nobody if Jesus died to save them? Because of Christ everybody is somebody. Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ