Only a Receptionist
Last night, my wife and I watched another episode of the BBC television show, Call the Midwife. In this segment, the doctor had to be away from the office because of an emergency, and his wife, who functioned as the receptionist, was running the clinic. When the patients realized the doctor was gone, they refused to let her help them because they were totally unaware that she had worked as a nurse for ten years. In their eyes, she was “only a receptionist” and they bolted for the door until a doctor or nurse was there. The next morning, the “receptionist” was dressed in a nurse uniform, and when she opened the door to let the clients in, they saw her as a professional medical caregiver, and accepted her expertise. Even though she was the same person, respect came with the right uniform.
This concept was the basis of John Molloy’s 1975 book titled Dress for Success, and the sequel two years later, The Woman’s Dress for Success. The average person is highly influenced by other people’s outward appearance, and most of us aren’t able to see beyond the surface. If people look good on the outside, we think more highly of them. But if their appearance isn’t impressive, we think less about them and, too often, we treat them worse.
This interpersonal dynamic can be seen in the scriptures, too. In 1st Samuel chapter 16, the Lord told Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the new king. When Samuel saw Eliab, he was impressed, and thought this must be the young man who would be king. But the Lord said to Samuel in a now-famous verse,
“Do not consider his appearance or his height … The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
It seems people of every generation have to re-learn this lesson. It took a vision from the Lord to bring Peter to the point of admitting that “God shows no partiality.” Acts 10:34 (NKJV) James had to remind the church not to treat wealthy people better than the poor when he wrote,
“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.” James 2:1 (NKJV)
It’s important for us to dress appropriately for work and business appointments. It does make a difference how people see us and think about us. But Christians are called to be different. We can grow in our relationship with Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to help us see people through His eyes, to see beyond the outward appearance and see the heart, the real person. We are called to treat all people with dignity and respect, no matter who they are or what they look like.
In 1 Timothy 4:12, the apostle tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he is young. (NIV) I think it would be fair to replace “young” with a number of other possible factors. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are poor, darker-skinned, an immigrant, a woman, a senior citizen, or unemployed. The apostle continues, “Instead, set an example” in the way you live, the way you conduct yourself.
Only a receptionist? Only a youth? Only a woman? Only an immigrant? Only a farmer? When I mentor or disciple people, I remind them never to use the word “only” when talking about themselves or others. As Christians and as human beings, we have an opportunity to get beyond superficial appearances and circumstances when it comes to how we treat people and how we value them.
You Can Do This
By Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. – Luke 6:30
Every other day, just after finishing with work, I head to the gym and spend some time exercising. I like to work out. It’s a great way to stay healthy and burn off stress at the same time.
My routine is pretty simple. I start by running on a treadmill, then I wander around the free-weight section for a variety of exercises. Finally, I try to finish off by swimming a few laps in the pool. When it’s over I always feel tired and sore, but good that I completed such a full workout.
One day, I was invited to work out with a friend of mine. As we made our way around the weight room, my friend stopped at the bench press and placed two huge weights on the side of the bar. Immediately, I became nervous. I had done the bench press before, but never with that much weight. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to lift it. Pride got the better of me though. Instead of saying something, I just braced myself and lifted the bar with all my strength.
To my surprise, it wasn’t that heavy. Sure, it took more effort than usual, but I realized my continuous workouts had made me a lot stronger. I had underestimated my own strength.
I think Christians can sometimes have the same problem when it comes to their faith. We keep telling ourselves we are not ready, that we need just a little more time to prepare ourselves. We underestimate our ability to be of service to God. Take a moment to read this excerpt from the book of Acts.
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. – Acts 18: 1-3
Acts continues to explain that while Paul ministered in Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla opened their home, helped with his teaching, and even followed him on some of his travels. Now read the verse again. Aquila and Pricilla weren’t anything special, they were tentmakers. If anyone had an excuse to think they weren’t ready for ministry, it was them. Instead, they gave what they had while serving where they could and God did amazing things through them.
Through The Bible Devotions
Deuteronomy 18:10-11 (NIV) 10Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
All these actions are trying to find out the things of the spiritual world without going through God. The demonic realm loves to take the place of God. They are real and they are cunning. They will sometimes tell the truth, but for the purpose of deceiving you in the end. The goal is to tell you what you want to hear to lead you down a road of destruction. The ruinous path of evil is well documented.
The people of God were to have nothing to do with these ways. Most religions of that ancient time have died out, but these demonic counterfeits continue just as they did millennia ago. They can still be found in almost every city of the world. Avoid them like the plague. Pray them out of your city. Warn your friends that dabble in them. The only source of truth about the spiritual realm that is healthy and whole is the Holy Spirit through God’s word.
It is good to do an inventory and see that none of these things have invaded your home. Warn your children when they are mature enough to understand. As the world comes closer to the end of days, we will see these more blatantly expressed and will be ridiculed for speaking against them. It is not the person we condemn but the power that uses them and the deception that is spoken. Be sure and read tomorrow’s devotion that follows up on this line of thought.
Pray: Lord, keep these influences from finding a foothold in my family and city.
“As for the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.” – Leviticus 7:15 NASB
The children of Israel were commanded by God to make thanksgiving peace offerings. These offerings had to be made every day! No leftovers were permitted.
Through this commandment, God was teaching a principle: Being thankful must be a daily habit. We are to give thanks each day. If we aren’t thankful, we can start taking our blessings and even God for granted.
God knew how quickly we can forget. What was new and exciting yesterday soon becomes used and old. New styles might excite us one day but lose their luster the next. Eagerly anticipated events may arrive but soon are forgotten.
This easily can happen in our spiritual lives. When faced with problems, we might seek God earnestly yet become complacent when the problem has passed. We can feel close to Him when we have a spiritual high but soon forget those glorious moments.
How easily we can become consumed with daily life and even stop thinking about God. How quickly we can stop reading His Word, let our love for Him grow cold, and take Him for granted.
Don’t let this happen to you! Pause to think about all that He has done for you. Remember the times He has answered your prayers, guided you, and met your needs. Right now, offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Praise Him. Worship Him. Thank Him. Be specific. And remember to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness.