Have you even been having a conversation and heard something profound come out of your mouth? I love when these moments happen, because I feel like God is talking to me as He talks through me to someone else.
I just had one of these moments at work. I was talking to a property manager, and we got into a conversation about how everyone thinks he/she is special and should be prioritized over someone else. How their issue with needing an internet circuit should take precedence over someone without power or A/C.
And I found myself saying, “Yeah, because that’s how our mamas raise us.” I was quick to clarify that our mothers are fabulous human beings who go above and beyond for us and do things other people wouldn’t. They take their time and energy to make sure we are happy and healthy. They have our best interest at heart, and they are willing to do a lot of (unusual or selfless) things for us. But society isn’t our mama, and most people we meet won’t do ¼ of the things our mama will. Because we aren’t special to those people. They don’t know us and they aren’t invested in our well-being. And we both laughed at such a profound yet simple truth. She quickly agreed with me.
And then the profound thought jumped up and grabbed me. I told her it was like Jesus – even He had a bigger group of followers that He sized down to the 12 disciples (Matthew 10:2-4) and then even further to His most intimate 3 guys (Matthew 17:1). And at the cross, He entrusted His mother Mary to His most precious follower (John 19:26). Sure, everyone mattered to Jesus. That’s why He entertained the crowds of people and healed regularly. That’s why He sent out the 72 disciples (Luke 10). But to Jesus, He had 12 people that were extra special to Him. People He chose to eat with, sleep near, and teach. The 12 were always with Him, and He chose them specifically to learn His new way of thinking and loving.
Did this mean Jesus didn’t care about the crowds or the 72 closer disciples? No. It just meant that Jesus chose a handful of people to be in His inner circle and know Him personally. To walk with Him and watch Him and know Him more intimately. To carry on His legacy and His teachings once He was gone.
And that’s what we have. We have only a handful of people, our 12, who love us and care about what happens to us. We go through life with these people, and our well-being matters to them. We make a point to stay in touch and interact. We share our highs and lows, our triumphs and defeats, our moments of wisdom and stupidity, our calm and crazy (angry). They are our go-to people who hug us, love us, laugh or cry with us, and make us feel better. We need them, and we hope they need us.
Does this mean we don’t care about society around us? No. We help when and where we can. We try to make a difference. We give where and when we can to help people and causes.
But at the end of the day, we come back to our 12 to share the details and the challenges. We return always to our 12 with smiles or tears, with happiness or sadness, and with praise or prayer reports. And we know they will always be there for us. To listen to us. To comfort us. To guide us. To know us. To accept us. To pray for us.
So who is in your inner circle? Who do you turn to regularly? Who is a great influence in your life?
Have you taken time to love (hug) them today? To talk to them? To show your appreciation?
And then take it a step further. Be the inner circle for THEM. Listen to them. Help them. Love them. Reach out to them. Be engaged. Be present. Be purposeful and bold in loving people.
As a result, your attitude will be better and your outlook will be brighter. You will be walking in love as Jesus commands us to do (John 13:34). You will find your life more purposeful and fulfilled. You will have more joy and peace.
For in engaging with people we find ourselves. We discover who we are and who we desire to be. We find a reason for our being – to love. We find and appreciate the truth of Genesis 2:18 (“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone’”).
We were created for community. We were created to interact. We were created to love and be loved (first by God, then by our fellow man).
And it starts with our inner circle. We need these people to become the person God created us to be. They shape us and influence our lives, our decisions, and our thinking.
So appreciate those inner circle people God gave you specifically to help you get through life. Allow them to invest in your life as you invest in theirs. And the rewards will be “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
Marie Fremin, 7/30/15 and 8/9/15