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Girlfriends in God - Aug. 14, 2008

  • 2008 Aug 14
  • COMMENTS

August 14, 2008
The Most Caring Child
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
1 Thessalonians 5:14 “We ask you, brothers and sisters, encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.”

Friend to Friend
Author and lecturer, Leo Buscaglia, once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.  The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.  The winner was a four-year-old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Every day, needs parade in front of our eyes, but we don’t see them!  I believe there are two main reasons we are blind to the needs of those around us.

We are too busy.  We have a schedule to keep.  We have blinders on to the people who cross our path each day.  Hurting people, lonely people and even desperate people tend to hide behind their pain from the very ones who could help most.  We look the other way, allowing them to withdraw into a darkness filled with pain and fear.  Many times, we view them as intrusions or interruptions in our very important schedules.  These uninvited guests may very well be divine appointments sent by God!  Hebrews 13:2 is a haunting verse to me, “Remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it.”  I wonder just how many angels we have missed because we were too busy.

We do not care enough.  Jesus says that if we love God right, then we will naturally love each other right.  True compassion is directly related to the health of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The Bible is very clear on this point:

1 John 4:8  “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
       
1 John 4:20 “If people say, ‘I love God,’ but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen”.

We can be very religious and not care enough!  The story of the Good Samaritan is one of the most familiar in all of Scripture.  It is a parable, which is an earthly story with a heavenly lesson.  Jesus tells this parable in response to a question asked of him by a Jewish lawyer.  The question was “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus told the lawyer two things. He must love God completely and then love his neighbor as himself. The lawyer didn’t like that answer because he lived by the law and wanted the law or doing good works to be his ticket to heaven. This “loving your neighbor” business sounded too messy, too costly and too much responsibility.  Jesus said that keeping the law is not enough and that we must love God and our neighbor.
Therefore, the lawyer asks a very important question, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus answers the lawyer with the parable in which Jesus pointedly defines compassion and shows us how to practice compassion in our life.

A Jewish man had been beaten, robbed and left on the side of the road to die.  A Levite and priest saw the man lying in the road and passed him by.  Now get this!  They were on their way home from church, returning from their temple duties in Jericho, the second largest city of Judea and home to thousands of priests and Levites.

I am sure they had good reasons for not stopping!  After all, they had been serving God at the temple all week and were anxious to get home. The bandits might still be hanging around, looking for their next victim.  It was a busy road.  Surely, someone else would come along and help the man.  Besides, he was in bad shape, probably beyond help anyway.  Sound familiar?

Fortunately, someone did stop.  Luke 10:33-34 tells us that “a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion.  He came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”

It is important to understand that Jews and Samaritans were enemies and normally refused to have anything to do with each other.  There was no logical reason this Samaritan should rearrange his plans and spend his money or invest time to help an “enemy” in need, but then, compassion doesn’t look for reasons.  Compassion doesn’t ask for limitations but simply searches for opportunity. 

The Samaritan had a choice, just like we have a choice every time we are confronted with a need.  The way we love and take care of one another should be a living illustration of God’s love. 

Let’s Pray
Father, please forgive me for my calloused attitude toward those in need around me.  Forgive me for making my Day Timer my Bible.  I do not want to be a hypocrite, Lord.  Give me a heart of compassion and the eyes to see those You send my way.  I pray that my life will exemplify Your love and mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Now It’s Your Turn

  • Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.  He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.”
  • When God delivers us from a difficult circumstance, what is our responsibility to others?
  • Does your schedule have margins of time for the angels unaware that God may send your way? If not, what changes do you need to make?
  • Think of one person in your life today who needs your comfort and encouragement.  Give that person a call, drop by for a visit, or mail an encouraging note.  If you see a need, meet it as an act of compassion. 

More from the Girls
Man, do I hate this devotion!  I tried my best to talk God out of making me write it.  He won.  I struggle with time management and with setting aside margins of time for the unexpected.  I am guilty of looking the other way because delving into that person’s life would take so much time and energy … both of which are on short supply in my life right now.  In a year, I wonder if I will remember all of the things that I just had to get done or will I remember the joy of being “God with skin on” to someone in need?  My book, Escaping the Stress Trap, is my story of God’s power to bring peace in the midst of chaos.  It will help you wrap your life around the truths of Psalm 23 and live out that truth in the way you love others.  I also have a free online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.  The present topic is A Balanced Life … the Impossible Dream?

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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
info@girlfriendsingod.com
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