What About Them?
By Tim Parson
What about me? It’s a question we’ve all been consumed with the last few months as the pandemic persists. I have asked this question and I have said these things. What about me? I don’t want to wear a mask! I don’t want to start the year on virtual instruction. I want to be able to teach and work from home. It’s not fair that Mrs. Smith only has one class to prep for and I have three. I want to wear a face shield instead of a face mask. Hand sanitizer dries my skin out!
What about me?
Perhaps that’s the wrong question. The Bible says there’s a better question to be asked. In Philippians 2:3 we read, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” When we spend our days asking “what about me?”, we miss the point of the Gospel and the example that Jesus set for us all. A much better question for those of us who follow Jesus is “what about them?”
What if we became totally consumed with others? What if we spent our time and energy pouring it into others? Especially, during these difficult times of pandemic, what if our lives were focused on them?
Who is “them?”
“Them” are our students. In particular, “them” are the students who need us most. The ones who come from backgrounds of poverty, perhaps those who have disabilities, or even the ones who are hardest for us to like. “Them” are our coworkers…many of which don’t know Jesus and who may only meet Him when they meet us. “Them” are our leaders who are called for such a time as this and who are in unbelievably difficult circumstances trying to do the best they can with the options they’ve been given. “Them” are the parents who always have a complaint, and who aren’t satisfied with much of anything.
Is it hard to love the least of these? Yes. It makes loving the least of these easier when we realize we too are the least of these…and He loved us. I know some of these students are the ones who make days difficult. I know some of these co-workers probably work on your nerves. I know these are the parents who take shots at you on Facebook. I know these are the administrators who gave you a less than satisfactory evaluation. Jesus prayed for the Father to forgive those who drove the nails into his wrists. If anyone understands difficult people, it’s Jesus. He prayed forgiveness for those who nailed Him to the cross. He set the perfect example. Even at a time when it would be so easy for us to worry about ourselves, Jesus showed that even when he should’ve been consumed with worry for himself, he was worried about others instead.
When the rest of the world is asking “what about me?”, followers of Jesus should be asking “what about them?” instead.
And what is the best answer to this question? It is this: they deserve the very best we can give them.
All of “them.”
Dr. Tim Parson is a Superintendent of Schools in rural Kentucky and has been an educator for nearly 20 years serving as teacher, principal, district administrator, district superintendent and a member of the Board of Directors of Christian Educators Association International. Dr. Parson is a Google Certified Educator and has been honored as Educator of the Year as a teacher, led a School of Distinction as a principal, and was a finalist for the KAPE Excellence in Leadership Award as a school superintendent. He also carries the title Pastor Tim, as an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, where he has planted 4 churches since 2015 and serves as Senior Pastor at Centerpoint Church.