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Consequential Strangers

Seeing others as Jesus sees them
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Doing Good". See series.

Introduction: Everyday people

So who have you bumped into lately? Think for a minute about the multitude of people—strangers or acquaintances—whose paths crossed yours this week: the server behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop; the mechanic who worked on your car; the lab partner you got stuck with in biology; the receptionist in your office building; the quirky characters you see on the train; the parents with whom you make small talk on the soccer sidelines.

A recent book suggests that these everyday people, these unremarkable encounters, can have a profound effect on our health, happiness, and success in life. The book is entitled, Consequential Strangers: The Power of People Who Don't Seem to Matter … But Really Do. The author documents all the ways that strangers and acquaintances can affect our lives—how a friendly greeting can change our outlook on the day, how a simple service someone offers can improve the quality of our lives, how a casual conversation can lead to a new job or a new romance, how someone from another ethnicity or social class can expand your horizons, and even how a fender bender can prompt a next step on a spiritual journey.

In today's passage, we're going to meet one of these consequential strangers—someone who didn't seem to matter to anyone, except Jesus.

Before we read the story, I'd like you to have in mind two or three of the kind of people I'm describing—people who are a part of your everyday world who at this point you don't really know and may have barely noticed. Bring their faces to your imagination right now, as well as the times and places you typically bump into them. Let's learn from Jesus what it might mean to "do good" to people like ...

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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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Sermon Outline:


Everyday people

I. The mark of the Christian

II. What Jesus sees

III. Doing good

IV. A provocative question

V. True religion

VI. Creative goodness

VII. A church that's done good