A few weeks ago while golfing, I found a piece of a jigsaw puzzle in the grass near one of the greens. At first, it caught my eye because it was out of place and I was curious as to how it got there. Then it occurred to me that somewhere there was a puzzle that would forever be incomplete because of this lost piece, which reminded me of another puzzle.

A number of years ago the church I was attending in New York used a puzzle to make a point. We wanted to remind people that everyone has a part to play in the work of the church and that everyone is important. We had someone paint a picture of the church on a sheet of card stock. We marked the back in squares, numbered the squares, and then cut the picture into a couple of hundred pieces. Then for the next two weeks, we handed out pieces of the puzzle, telling everyone to bring them back a month later for the church’s big birthday celebration.

The day of the party we reassembled all the pieces that had been returned. We had most of the pieces, but there were more than a few that never came back. The painting, while recognizable as the church building, was incomplete.

People come and go from our lives. Some are lost to us as God calls them home. Others are lost for a myriad of other reasons. Our interests change. We move, they move, time and distance take their toll, and before long they are gone. Some stay longer than others. Some are more important than others. But all are a part of the fabric of our lives, even the lady standing in front of you in the line at the convenience store.

As I write this, I am reminded of two friends from years ago who are missing and lost in the fog of time. The first is a man named Leo, a friend from High School. The other’s name is Dick; we met and became friends while attending electronics school at Keesler A.F.B right after basic training.

Stories of people like Noah, Moses, King David, Deborah, Abigail, Ruth, and others fill the pages of the Bible. Just as important, and perhaps even more so, are the countless thousands of ordinary men and women who have answered God’s call.

The point is that we are part of a rich tapestry that is God’s creation. God imagined each and every one of us in that moment when he said, “Let there be…” Together we reflect the image of God, and when some of us are missing the image is tarnished, and we are less than we could be, less than God intended us to be, and less than we are destined to be.

Since we are all pieces of the same puzzle take a moment today to make some new connections and remind others that they are important to you.

John R. Fowler. John is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper