Following church, I went to return a DVD to a local vending machine in our grocery store. Inside, a lady was visiting with a friend in front of the machine trying to decide on movies to rent. She had a DVD sticking out of the machine so I assumed she was also returning it. I know she observed me come in the store and stand behind her. However, she continued to visit with her friend. Finally, she looked at me directly and told me I would have to wait as she was using the machine. Then, she asked if I was only returning a DVD because she was not finished. I assured her I was returning a movie. She said I could return my movie after she finished returning hers but she was not finished with the machine. After a moment or two, I was able to finally slip my DVD into the machine and be on my way. When I got into the car, I told my husband that I was amazed at how oblivious the lady was to my presence. It was as though the machine belonged to her and she was giving me permission to use it but only for a moment.
Unfortunately, this is not the only time I have observed people who seem to be oblivious to others. On many occasions, I watched (at a safe distance) when another motorist ran a red light or flew through a stop sign. I have also seen a person so intent on taking an open parking space at a shopping mall that they have a near collision with another car in order to get the spot first. Really, none of this should surprise me or any of us. We have probably all been guilty of being oblivious to those around us at one time or another, but that is not to say it is right. After all, our Lord attends to even the smallest of details and He calls us to follow Him in holy living.
Jesus, in sharing with His disciples, talked to them about fearing those who oppose
them. He encourages them by reminding them that God cares about them. Matthew 10:29-31 reads: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." God's sovereignty and attention to detail is something we need to demonstrate in our lives. How often have we neglected a friend or a shut in? We become oblivious to others because we are so wrapped up in ourselves and our busy schedule. Why do we not make time for a phone call, a note, or a visit?
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds us to do good to others: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:9-10). Helping those in need, extending a hand to someone who is lonely, calling a friend to say "hello", praying with a grieving person, saying thank you to someone one who has blessed us are all signs of someone whose heart has been changed by Christ.
My mother used to instruct me concerning the sins of omission as well as the sins of commission. We know when we have sinned purposely. These are sins of commission. However, there are times when we neglect to do something which would bring blessings to others and glorify God. These are sins of omission. When we are oblivious to those around us, we are neglecting to do good. Obviously, we cannot be everywhere and do everything. Nevertheless, to those whom God has placed in our sphere of influence, we ought to be faithful to serve and bless them as we have the opportunity.