The Ones in a Crowd

Do you ever wish someone would notice you? Like pick you out in a crowd and really notice you? Ride73Not in  a creepy way, but in a long-lost-friend-hey-how-have-you-been way. Or a you-look-like-like-you-could-use-a-smile kind of way. Even a hey-you-dropped-this-important-looking-thing-and-wouldn’t-want-to-lose-it kind of way.
When someone notices you like that, doesn’t it make you feel special, warm, and happy? I think it’s ironic that we want to be noticed, but do our best not to notice others; as we navigate through the crowds, we do our best to blend in, check out, or even put up our
shields to isolate us from everyone.
We have a deep desire to know others and to be known by others; and yet seem overwhelmed by the crowd. I think there’s a simple principle at work here, if we want to be noticed, we need to take the steps to notice others. India TrainBut how do we notice and  relate to some while filtering out the crowd? it seems counterproductive.
Recently, a friend showed me how Jesus filtered through the crowd. I was actually quite surprised because I thought Jesus was the ultimate extrovert and always headed toward the crowd; in reality, Jesus often withdrew from the crowds, into a more intimate setting with only a few.
How did Jesus do it? with simple invitations. We could picture our day as a blank piece of paper, then list the crowd of people that move through our life in one day: the bank teller, waitresses, the gas attendant, drivers, friends, family, etc.
If we believe we have been created for a purpose and not to be on our own, then we know the importance of relationship. We can ask God each day these three simple questions: Who have you brought into my life? Who do you want me to meet? and, What do you want me to do with them?
Us fourOur first step is to Relate with others, by simply acknowledging random people in the crowd. A smile and a nod, perhaps “hi, how are you?”, or even, “excuse me, I think you dropped this”. I love watching my grandpa and my dad in a crowd, they have the best way of setting others at ease and starting up conversations over the simplest of things. Jesus did that with a simple invitations: “Come and See”, Look at this, Did you see that?, if people responded, they moved from the crowd and He connected with them.
The second step is to get others to Elaborate. people love talking about their own interests. simple questions get things moving. I have some friends that have created a list they call the four “H’s”; it started out with: what’s your History, Home, Hobby, or Hope? but it has grown to well over a dozen words that start with H and get conversation started. Jesus used the simple phrase “Follow Me” to invite people from His connections into His circle of investment.
IMAG0930_1The third step is where we Associate with others. The conversation moves deeper into
plans and goals. Jesus had twelve that He invested in, and three that He gave priority. The twelve were committed to His cause, but three received special insights and were given extra responsibility. To these He simply said “Abide in Me”, and they determined the level of commitment; some were very committed, and the evidence is clear. This is the deepest level of intimacy, but it is not the end of the story.
The final step is to Propagate. In Jesus’s terms, “Go, Tell, and Make disciples.” This is the step where we empower the goals, plans, and vision of those who have gained our connection, investment, and priority. Just like sharing the Gospel did not end with Jesus, or His followers, we have a responsibility to share His story.
ContemplationThere are people in the crowd, who do not know the Hope that we have. There are people in the crowd who need to know Jesus. And just like Jesus inserted Himself into the lives of others, I believe we are to check for opportunities to insert ourself into their lives. As you probably already know, one of my favorite things is to talk over coffee; I’d love to hear from you, how you’re doing, what’s going on in your life, and hear the stories of the ones in your crowd.

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