“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” — 1 Peter 5:2-3
Letting Others Be Heard
As usual, when big-name sports figures showed up, the scene was crazy.
At the U.S. Open every year, tennis fans are allowed certain places to view players practicing, as well as to get autographs. There are even specific areas designated just for children. Multi-major champion Rafa Nadal was interacting with some kids in one of these spots, the children going wild as they got to take pictures with or get an autograph from one of the biggest stars in the sport.
For one little boy, however, the moment turned from joy to frustration. As the crowd pressed in to get a better glimpse of Nadal, the little guy, who had positioned himself right at the front, was getting pushed out of the way and swallowed by the other children in their haste to get closer to Rafa. Tears soon followed as the little boy was enveloped in the mass. But Nadal heard the boy’s crying.
He stopped signing autographs and looked for the boy among the people. Soon, the mass parted to reveal the sad child. Nadal picked up the boy and lifted him over the fence. He then began to talk to the child, wiping tears from his face and comforting him. As the boy tried to collect himself, Rafa took the cap the kid was holding in his hand and signed it for him. Giving him a hug, he then turned to the other children and let them know to keep things orderly so others didn’t get shoved out as well. A female volunteer then took the boy off to find his parents, and Nadal went on signing autographs.
What stood out to me, besides Nadal’s obvious kindness, was the fact that this was such a picture in letting people know they’re heard. So often, there are hurting individuals among us whose voices are getting shut out. Who are losing their place in the world because others are pushing them out and making them feel invaluable, unwanted; because the world is getting too selfish. And we are all human. And sin is our basic nature. It takes someone being willing to listen for the cries of the unheard and to let them know they matter.
On your team, in your office, at your school, in your community, there are likely silenced voices that are just waiting for a chance to be heard. People who have been wounded, hurt, shamed, left out and ignored, but who are just waiting for a loving individual to come along who will give them a safe place to dry their tears and feel accepted.
That individual can be you.
You can channel the grace of God placed within you to be the hands and feet of your Savior to whoever this person may be in your life. You may or may not have someone in mind as you read this. God will show you who they are. However God leads you to show it, be the one to let others know they are heard. For in Christ’s Kingdom, every voice matters.
— Katherine Singer
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