We are Not Keeping Track of You

Mildred leaned forward in her pew and touched the shoulder of Frances sitting ahead of her.

“Oh hi, Mildred. It’s good to see you,” said Frances.

“It’s been a long time,” Mildred responded. “We’ve especially missed you in Bible class.”

“I know,” replied Frances. “My daughter’s son had a huge graduation party, and then he’s off to study abroad. I’ve practically lived at my daughter’s house getting ready for all the festivities. Just so much to do.”

“Oh, I know what you mean. We are not kids any longer. Just remember, we’re not keeping track of you,” Mildred said with a smile and another tap on Frances’ shoulder. The music started and worship began.

I first thought to myself, that was a funny remark. What exactly did Mildred mean? Was it a negative response to Frances missing Bible class? Was she saying, “All of that shouldn’t keep you away”?

No, I think Mildred was saying to Frances the opposite, “We like you to come whenever possible. We don’t hold your absences against you. You are always welcome.” She was playfully reminding Frances that they are remembering her and would indeed be keeping track of her.

I thought of the Apostle Paul and the traveling he did. It was easy to lose track of Paul. He had no cell phone, nor any of the other high-tech connection devices we have today. It would take Paul months and even years to reconnect with his congregation.

When Paul was at the lowest time of his life, all alone with the exception of a few, the Philippian church sent him gifts to sustain him. This church was keeping track of Paul and was constantly concerned with his welfare. He says in the beginning of his letter to the Philippians, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:3-6).

I like to think that’s what we’re doing with the “least of these.” While they may be forgotten, we seek to keep track of them. We keep track of their hardships and send them the things they need in order to survive.

After the service, several other people in Frances’ Bible class sought her out, telling her how much they missed her and giving her big hugs. It’s nice to know there are people who are keeping track of us.

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