There is an old manufacturing plant off the beaten path near our town. Kudzu, weeds of various kinds, Mimosa trees, and cane breaks had overtaken the structure and the parking lot. The building was almost completely hidden from view and if one didn’t know it was there they may have never known it was once a thriving business that supplied motor blocks to the automobile industry. The company existed long before the south became the new Detroit so they were well ahead of their time and this could have been one of the issues that lead to their early demise.
Anyway, recently I noticed a vehicle or two parked near the building/forest and two people looking at the structure. Shortly afterward grading equipment was delivered to the site and began clearing the overgrowth surrounding the building and within a few days other crews were on-site changing out siding, sweeping, replanting shrubbery, painting, washing windows and working on the inside. Today the building has been born again or is being repurposed for some type of manufacturing that deals with the automotive industry. I haven’t inquired about what they will be doing but I have been very interested in the transformation from a dilapidated structure into something of value. Someone with vision (and money) saw the possibility within the building and decided it was worth saving and breathed life into it once again.
I am reminded of the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” While the building was overgrown with weeds, appeared to be worthless and in need of too much repair to salvage it for other uses, this wasn’t the case at all. It’s the same with people. As a whole, we tend to look at the appearance of others, usually a first impression, to decide if the person is good or bad, worthy or worthless, believer or non-believer, etc… I have been guilty of such ideas about others during my life probably on more occasions than I care to remember. It is not something I am proud of or even like to talk about, however I have met someone for the first time and assumed they were not someone I wanted to associate. As I made my exit I thought maybe today, they weren’t having a good day; should I give them a second chance. Then I thought, maybe it was me, did I come across with a “better than thou” attitude, did I smile, did I extend a hand of friendship, did I ask how they were doing, thank them for their time, did I make a effort toward them to show I actually care for them? Did I?
The more I pondered the meeting the more I realized, It was me! Hopefully, the old adage goes both ways. Will they give me a second chance? Thankfully, after apologies, handshakes, starting over with introductions we both realized there was something of value within each of us. We worked together, respecting each other’s ideas, beliefs, attitudes, strengths, weaknesses and a new partnership was born and a repurposing of our team and their skill sets became the main focus.
This scenario happened long ago when I was developing and maturing as is my daily goal to continue stretching and growing. Crow doesn’t taste too bad if you season it well. Seasoning techniques is what I learned that day. First is to offer my very best and be the first one to offer my very best. I wanted others to understand I am a people lover. I want them to succeed. I want them to be successful. I want them to reach their potential. I want them to know I care for and value them as a person, first. The next thing I wanted them to realize is to allow me to be the risk taker. I will stand out front and shield them from the obstacles and help them through the tough times. I wanted them to know I accept full responsibility for the failures and give them the credit for the successes.
Next I wanted them to see a tireless worker standing shoulder to shoulder with them. They needed to know when we stand on the shoulders of others it leaves little room for a chip. Last but not least, I wanted them to see a servant-leader. Someone who does the work no one else would do and perform those duties because of the unconditional love Christ shows us and expects us to share the same love through our walk and our talk.
I encourage each of us use first impressions as an opportunity to connect with others and get to know them better. The overgrowth or cover can be stripped away revealing something of value and with enough encouragement and support can be shown they can do anything they want to do, go places they never thought they could go and become better than they ever thought they could become. Philippians 2:25-30
Have a wonderful day,