A Prayer to Love When It’s Inconvenient
By Karen Ehman
“Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.” Philippians 4:5 (NLT)
Recently as I waited in line at a coffee house, a frail, elderly woman stood in front of me ordering a meal. She seemed distressed as she fumbled for her change, paid the worker, and then gathered up her bag of food and her drink. As she headed for the door, her large purse began swinging off of her shoulder, nearly knocking her, and all of her lunch, to the floor.
“Oh … how am I going to do this? Oh my … oh dear … I can’t …” she mumbled to herself, trying to shift her weight and her cargo, while pushing open the door at the same time. Though I’d just finally reached the front of the line, God used today’s key verse to tap me on the heart and shift my momentary schedule.
“Here, let me get that for you,” I uttered as I held the door open and steadied her drink. “Would you like me to carry your food to your car?” She stopped in her tracks, her bright blue eyes looking up at me with gratefulness. “Oh dear … you must have a grandmother living that you’re so kind to an old woman.”
“No ma’am, I don’t,” I answered. “I just love Jesus and He wants me to help you.”
Her face softened. She shook her head and decidedly declared: “Of course! You people have always been so helpful to me. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” You people. I’m pretty sure she meant, “You Christians.”
It reminded me of the age-old truth: More is caught than taught. And it demonstrated to me that people are watching. What do they see? Do they see us being considerate in all we do? Sadly, I have been told the following:
· By a waitress: “Christians are the worst tippers, especially after a Sunday supper out. Sometimes they leave no money at all.”
· By a sweet, misguided teenager from a tumultuous home, looking for love with her heart and announcing it with her body: “I tried going to church once. There was a sign on the front door that said, ‘All are welcome, but please dress appropriately.’ I didn’t know what appropriately meant, but I knew it wasn’t me. So I turned around and left.”
I know followers of Jesus — and I count myself in particular — don’t always portray to others the considerate and loving ways of Christ, as urged in today’s key verse. But we can do better. We need to remember that people are watching our behavior. If all they see are uncaring or condemning Christians, why, oh why, would they want to become one?
Father, forgive me for the times I choose condemnation over love, rudeness over kindness, or desire to do nothing rather than do the right thing. Please prompt my heart and interrupt my momentary schedule so my actions may reflect who You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Encouragement for Today devotional, “Loving When It’s Inconvenient,” written by Karen Ehman. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.