In high school and college I worked at a pizza place and Taco Bell. I loved those jobs. I loved running the cash register and engaging in light conversation with customers. I loved smiling at them or complimenting them if I had a chance to.
When I tell people how much I loved those jobs I'm often told that I'm a bit eccentric and many people respond to me with the phrase, "I hate working with the public." Or sometimes they will say, "I'm not a people person.
When I hear that, I get really, really sad. Yes, working with the public is hard. And it can be really frustrating (says the girl who once had hot enchiladas thrown in her face by an irate drive-through customer...).
Now, don't misunderstand me. I know that there are introverts in this world, and believe it or not, I recharge like one. I enjoy being alone to regroup. So, I understand that sometimes that phrase 'I'm not a people person' is an introvert expressing the desire to be alone for a while. And I understand that.
But, every once in a while I will hear a person say it and they declare it like they mean it---like the existence of other people makes them want to hit their head against a wall. It makes my heart ache, because first of all, I'm a people. I want people to like me, don't you? So, when someone makes that declaration, it stings a little.
But, more than just my feelings are at stake here. When a person declares that they do not enjoy other people, does that not suggest an air of superiority? As if that person thinks they are better than all the other people in the world? As if us other people are not worth devoting time, thought or energy into?
And, when I hear a Christian claim that, my heart shatters into little pieces. I can't imagine what it does to the heart of God. As followers of Christ, we are called to be people people. We are to love one another, we are to meet together, we are to encourage one another, and we are to give each other grace for our short comings. That sounds like being a people person to me.
It doesn't matter if you like being the life of the party or whether you tend to be a wallflower, God can use your personality to love on and encourage another person. So, if you are a brother or sister in Christ, let me encourage you to always think of yourself as a people person---because God has called you to be one.