by Carolyn Brashear
Most of us can recall a moment or two when someone has done or said something that has made us feel special. On the other hand, can you recall a moment or two when you have made someone else feel special?
Much of our lives are based on feelings. They may be real or perceived. They come and they go. They may not last long, but when recalled,
remind us of a person or event that goes along with them. They may bring frustration or sorrow, doubt
or assurance, peace or joy, and a host of other emotions. Feelings can reveal to what or whom we are
drawn, whether our focus is on ourselves or others, and what we consider to be
On the last weekend of March of last year, my niece (Sarah)
and nephew-in-law-to-be (Zach – her fiance), were married in Ohio. Due to COVID-19 regulations, their large
wedding was reduced from 150+ guests to 10 and I was unable to attend.
Prior to that time, my first meeting with Zach was during
Christmas in 2019. After that time, I saw him again at Christmas
in 2020. Zach seemed like a very
attentive young man, and I realized that this was even more so at Christmas
I was sitting alone on the small sofa in the side wing of my
mom’s kitchen and dining area. Zach and
Sarah (with their backs to me) along with my sister and her husband and my mom
were sitting at the dining table.
During our conversations, Zach reached down and pulled out a
small book and started to tell us about it.
A while back, he had been to an antique mall. He came across some books at one of the
vendors there. As he held the book where
we could see it, he said he had picked it up and flipped through it. It obviously caught his attention more than
the others. He looked at it for a while,
then put it back with the others, and went on to other vendors. As he went through the mall, he kept thinking
about that book. Before he left the
mall, he decided that he would go back and buy that book, and he did.
I don’t think he had in mind any particular person to whom
he would give it, but he told us that because he knew our family had grown up
in the Methodist church, he said he thought that just maybe one of us would be
interested in it. I was crocheting as I
was sitting there and had been listening to his story about the book, but when
he mentioned Methodist church, he turned and looked at me and he had my
attention even more. I put down the yarn
and needles, and he handed me the book.
I didn’t know the treasure (or at least what I consider to
be a treasure) that I was about to hold in my hands. The hard back cover was a little worn, but
the book was solid and intact. It was only
4”x6” in size, but it measured 1.5” in thickness. On the spine was its title “Methodist Hymnal
On the title page it was written that it was published in
1878 which makes it 142 years old. On
May 30, 1876, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (which
met in Cleveland, Ohio that year) authorized a revision of their current hymnal
and this book was the result.
If you know the first hymn of our current hymnal, then
you’ll know the first hymn of this 1878 copy.
It contains 1,117 hymns all without music, just the lyrics, plus
doxologies, and the ritual for baptisms, reception of members, and the Lord’s
Supper. I sat there and spent thirty
minutes or more going through it and have looked at it numerous times
since. I have only had the opportunity
to show it to a few folks.
I know that for many people would not see this item as a
treasure. And then I got to thinking,
the real treasure is not in the item itself.
The book represents what I perceive to be a treasure, real treasure. If we look up Matthew 6:21, we read: “For where your treasure is, there your
heart will be also.”
The real treasure was not the book, but the heart of my
niece’s husband. Not only was he
attentive to her, but to her family. He
considered what might be of interest, even importance to them, and in the
process he may not have even realized that his thoughtfulness and action made
someone feel special. He paid enough
attention to consider what someone else might appreciate, and realizing that,
it gave rise to the feeling of being special.
Seems to me that this is one of the things that Jesus
did. People came to him for various
reasons – to be fed, to be healed, to hear His teachings, to touch Him, to be
near to Him, etc. Many of them probably
did not realize how special they were to Him.
He came to earth for them, and for you, and for me. While I question my own unworthiness at
times, and wonder how He could love me, He still came to say “you are special”
– you are a “child of the Father, the one true living God.” Jesus is so attentive that even though He knows
everything about me, He still loves me like no other person ever could and His
love makes me special, one of His beloved.
It doesn’t make me perfect, and I am so thankful He loves me in spite of
So, what do we need to ask ourselves? For me, it is “to whom do I need to be attentive”? As Jesus offered Himself to us, to whom do we
need to offer ourselves? Do I understand
what it is that makes another person feel special, feel loved?
I pray that we take time to reflect on how Jesus makes us
feel. May we receive His love and
experience feeling special in the way that His love intends, knowing that He
gave His life for you and for me. But, may
we also look beyond ourselves to others, being in the “present” with them so that
we are attentive to them, in the hope that they too will in some way feel
special as well. Beloved, let us love one
another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.