Imagine…. You’re attending a dinner ball….The men are dressed in suits…The women have on floor length gowns….The ball room is not yet open…You and all the other guests are visiting and wandering around just outside the ballroom…. Waiting for the curtains that separate all the guests from the ball room to be pulled back…opening the elegantly dressed room with the extravagant décor and the elaborately dressed dinner tables where a five course meal will soon be served to you and the guests…
Most in the room are acquaintances…some are friends…others are business colleagues…Some in the room are monetarily blessed…others pretend to be…
This is how an evening started for me….
Although the event was considered a success in many ways... I don’t want to share anything more with you about the event… I want to tell you about the people…specifically two guests.
These two guests were asked the day of to join their boss for the evening at the company’s dinner table. Both are extremely hard workers and continued to work through out the day of the event… finally, taking just a short time to shower and dress for the evening…
When they arrived in their best clothes… I am told they looked like they felt uncomfortable…He was dressed in his dark black dress jeans and plaid button up shirt…She wore her black dress pants, blouse, and tennis shoes.
I didn’t see them join the crowd…they must have stayed away from the group until it was time to be seated at the dinner table. Unfortunately, the couple was not going to be at ease once they joined their colleagues for dinner… the table which was supposed to be for ten individuals….was set for only eight…the couple was quickly lead away from the table and … OUT OF THE ROOM.
Can you imagine? Already feeling uncomfortable around a crowd of one hundred people where you barely knew a handful of people…then just when you enter this elegant room preparing to join your boss and colleagues for dinner (already feeling odd because of all the people and out of place because of your clothing) THEN you are being escorted out of the room…as if you’d done something wrong or don’t belong there.
That night the couple ended up sitting at the same dinner table as me. I have read books and seen movies where people are supposed to be ‘visibly’ uncomfortable…but after experiencing it in real life. I will never forget. The man looked as though he couldn’t breath well … he was constantly looking around at all the people and looking down not sure what to do…I so longed for him to look me in the eye, so I could some how help put him at ease…The woman kept saying ‘I didn’t know…I have tenna shoes on…I just didn’t know’. They both felt overwhelmed by the silverware selection on the table and were on edge as to what to say and do.
I longed to comfort them. To tell them I was so happy they were at the dinner table with me. To share with them few other people in that room were as real as they were. They weren’t hiding behind a fake mask of fancy attire and unwholesome friendships. They probably work much harder than many others in the room and have a much more fulfilling life. I also doubt many at the dinner that evening were as courageous as they were to re-enter the room and sit at a table full of mostly strangers.
I have never been a very material oriented person. I believe the scripture in Matthew about storing up Heavenly treasures not earthly possessions.
Still, I had been recently seeking ways to make more money in the hopes to pay off my car or have more travel money. I’d thought about other jobs partially in attempt to be paid more, so I could visit family more and support them when they need it.
God spoke to me through that couple. He reminded me that even wanting money to ‘do good’ and care for my family could mold me in to a stumbling block for others. In Matthew we're reminded not to flaunt our righteousness in front of others. (Matthew 6:1-4)
I am thankful to God for showing me that out of all blessings and gifts comes responsibility and having wealthy is no exception. All blessings, gifts, and talents given to us are meant to glorify God, and I believe each can create a barrier from reaching others. Whether it’s being blessed to work for the same company for 20+ years while another person has to seek a new job every few years….or if it’s the ability to have children while others are barren… even something like being part of a close knit family compared to someone who doesn’t have a good family life at all….
God has blessed each of us beyond our needs. (Philippians 4:19). I pray we can all take a closer look not only to appreciate what we have…but to use our gifts and blessings to bless others not to be a stumbling block, barrier, or bring discomfort to others.