While sorting through pictures on my phone, I noticed there are often people in the background of the photos, unknowingly captured. In the forefront is a waving family member or smiling friend. Yet, behind the main focus of the snapshot, there are blurred figures I did not plan on photographing.
I do not know these people well, if at all.
In the first picture, my daughter sits in her Sunday best. Her eyes are twinkling at me as the congregation sings. In the background of the Sunday morning moment, are attendees of my church sitting several pews away; I haven’t gotten to know them.
In another shot, my family builds a sandcastle, sunburnt cheeks beaming at the joy of the ocean. Off in the distance, is another family enjoying the same beach we are. I have seen them periodically all week. I have no idea where they are from.
A selfie depicts my best friend and I rooting for our favorite team, smiles wide in the loud stadium. A fan behind us looks downcast; perhaps his team was losing.
Why haven’t I noticed how important that background is? Those people that God placed in that moment with me, are ignored in my lens and my life.
Though digital pictures were not taken in AD 61, God gave Paul understanding on overlooking those in the background of our lives. Paul wrote, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:4-5 NLT).
Because God was aware of our tendencies to overlook those He places around us, He gave us clear instructions to take an interest in others and see the big picture, as Christ did!
What is the big picture, you ask? It is all of us, on this earth, doing what we can to serve each other and the Lord. We should not be ignoring one another, satisfied with having strangers in the background of our pictures.
Could we start taking a closer look through our lenses, as we take photos of our lives? Let us expand the moments we capture by reaching out to those around us, and taking an interest in those found in the background. This is what Jesus did again and again as we read about His life on earth.
We will introduce ourselves to the couple several rows back at church, and invite them for lunch afterward.
When our children play side-by-side with others on our next beach vacation, we will ask the mom under the nearby umbrella where her family is from and share tales of motherhood.
When a disgruntled fan behind us is having a bad day, we will offer a handshake and discuss things more important than winners and losers.
We will begin to take interest in those that too often only make it into the background of our photos. We will bring them into the forefront of our lenses, with an attitude like Jesus.
It is what God calls us to do, friends.
When we take notice of what is overlooked, that’s when the bigger picture emerges into a clear and breathtaking image.
God can do amazing things through our lives and into the lives of those who share our captured moments, bringing us all into the forefront together, with beautiful smiles. We only have to pay attention and take an interest in others!