I get moved around a ton to different roles while working at UPS. I have been working for the company for over a decade now and have a pretty good understanding of how to do many of the different tasks and how each of them fit into the greater whole of the operation. The problem with this is that sometimes I don’t know the people with whom I am working very well… being bounced from place to place doesn’t always give me the chance to have as many conversations with folks as I may like, or sometimes I use the fact that I am going to get bounced soon to NOT have any conversations in the first place.
And so the people become nameless robots whom I label in my mind: good sorter, jerk, the one who is quick with a joke, the one you steer clear of for obvious reasons, the one you steer clear of for less obvious reason, the other pastor guy… While it may be ok to have a working knowledge about who a person is, it is not ok for me to diminish someone and boil them down from the complex person they are to a label I can spit out in less than a second in my mind. People are not objects that can be easily labeled… they are people. I am reminded of a quote by Clive Staples:
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Recognizing that the ones with whom I work are not just mere mortals, but instead have an eternal destination, moves me to think, am I making a difference in eternity by the way that I am working here, am I expecting to spend eternity hanging out with this person (should God save them), and am I encouraging those with whom I work to think about their eternity?