You see them, but you don’t pay much attention to them. They are present in almost every scene, and without them, the picture would be incomplete; yet, no one remembers their names or any details about them. You could say, they are both indispensable and invisible. In the motion picture business, they are called extras. Hundreds and thousands of them are hired for motion pictures and television dramas. They are the people walking by on street scenes, or sitting at the tables in the restaurants. They are always in the background, and essential to create the perfect picture of reality. Yet, their names do not appear in movie credits, or on theater marquees. These people are important to the success of the movie. In the end however, they are just extras, and like objects carefully chosen for the scenery, they are soon forgotten. How would you like to be forgotten, or invisible?
I’m afraid too many of us live our lives the same way, ignoring the “extras”. Certain people are always, as they say, front and center on the stage, while others become little more than scenery. In one sense of the word, that’s the way things are. But, is that the way things should be? We must give attention to our family and friends – these are the people who make us who we are, and give meaning and purpose to why we live. However, is it possible we are missing something even more significant in our lives by ignoring the “extras” all around us every day?
How many people do you go through life alongside of, yet never really see? Are there people in your church you really don’t even know? Do you know everybody in your office? Really? If you go to the same place often for lunch, can you recall the name of the server who usually waits on you? What’s your dry cleaner lady’s name? How about the gal who usually checks out your groceries? How well do you know your mechanic, or your mailman? What about the paperboy? What about your neighbors?
Looking at Jesus’ life, it seems He gave most of His attention to people who would have been considered the “extras” of His day. In other words, He sought out the people no one seemed to care about. He spent time with the blind, the widows, the poor, the hungry, and the outcast. Even the children, whom the disciples tried to push away, found favor in Jesus’ eyes. Perhaps that’s why the King of Kings wasn’t born in a palace, but in a stable. That’s why the Great Physician didn’t open his medical practice among the rich and famous. That’s why the greatest teacher who ever lived didn’t spend His time hanging out with the religious leaders of His day, but rather a rag-tag group, consisting of uneducated fishermen, hated tax collectors, revolutionaries, and others of questionable reputations.
You might say, He focused on, spent time with, and loved on the “extras.” He never treated them like scenery. They were all “extra” special to Him! Here’s one example . . .
“Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17 / NLT)
How can we live our lives more like He lived His life? Who are the “extras” God has placed around you and your family? Are their people who cross your path everyday who need someone to see them – to speak a kind word to them – to make a difference in their lives and possibly impact them for eternity? How many opportunities to witness are you missing every day, because you fail to notice the “extras” in your own life?