When we were in Tecate last week, I was reminded that every person is important. Every person matters. As we drove through the streets of Tijuana on our way to the City of Angels, Ken LaPoint pulled the caravan over. He had seen someone he knew crying on a street corner, so he stopped the caravan to see about her. It was getting late in the day, and some of us team members were a bit frustrated. Then, we were reminded that Jesus would probably have done the same thing.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
Later in the week, we took our team picture. As I walked down the hill from where we had taken the picture, I saw one of the interns sitting on a bench by himself. Let me back up and say that Ken brought four interns with him to Mexico for the summer. His passion is in caring for youth- whether here or in Mexico. He wanted to spend time with them and to “love on them” (his words). Any way, I saw him say “What’s up? We just took the picture, and you weren’t in it!”. Ken notices people. I love this because I’m so often involved in what I’m doing that I pass people by. He sat down by this teenager and they hung out for a while. He noticed that this teen had withdrawn from the group, and he wanted to connect. When I walked by half an hour later, they were still sitting there talking. Ken “loving on” his intern. A true shepherd’s heart.
On a related note, Sharon Cohn Wu of International Justice Mission (IJM) has communicated the same idea. Some people say that we’ll never stem the flow of human trafficking. Sometimes IJM attempts to rescue a host of people and only winds up rescuing one or two people. While IJM is trying to stem the flow of trafficking and while they do everything they can to rescue as many people as possible, the issue of human trafficking is overwhelming. Cohn Wu’s reply to this issue is that “if you’re the one being rescued, it’s everything” (my paraphrase). Every person who is rescued out of slavery matters. Even if there are a lot left behind. Even if there is a pool of vulnerable people who will fill that slave’s spot. Every person matters.
The one matters.