Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Small Encouragements With Great Love

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)

Sometimes we think we need to do something huge to make a difference for God's kingdom.  But the Lord instructs us to do something simple that has become increasingly rare in today's hurried world. 

Last week, I was delighted by the phone call of a friend 3 states away who knew I had been at the hospital with my son.  She also knew that there were some heavy burdens related to my job.  In her loving kindness, she made a simple phone call and just listened.  We spoke the same language as we shared our angst as parents and ministry leaders.  It was such comfort.  She validated me, which was an enormous encouragement.  And despite her own burdens, she asked me what she could do to help without hesitation.  Where else could I find compassion like that?

In a nation filled with people who call themselves "Christian", this shouldn't be so hard to find. Unfortunately, it seems to be.  I know that I repeatedly make this point, but I see it all around me --  We move at such a frantic pace these days that we are failing to minister to one another in ways that God calls us to.  We run from one good thing to another, without slowing to be that Good Samaritan in someone's life in the simplest of ways.  Rather than listening and offering "poor babies", as one acquaintance of mine used to call them, we attempt to shoot magic bullets consisting of platitudes and false judgments.  Instead of coming into agreement with someone whom we allow to bend our ear, we often tend to do more harm than good as we whiz by.

Mother Teresa, one of my favorite heroines, earned great respect over time by living out what she preached, "Do small things with great love."  And therein lays the whole mission Jesus calls us to daily.  What Mother Teresa doesn't say is that those little things done in great love can make such an enormous difference in the life of another human being.  Every simple act of kindness affirms the value of the receiver, and echoes back in blessing to the giver.

Here are some ideas for how you might exercise this mandate in your daily life:
  • Take a walk with a friend, just letting them vent as you stroll along the way.
  • Send a silly card via snail mail.  It's always a treasure when we get something in our mailbox that isn't a bill!
  • Bring someone who you know is having a tough time some inexpensive flowers.  How often do we get to enjoy that simple joy besides birthdays or anniversaries?
  • Get together with people in similar circumstances and pray for one another.  No one understands the needs to be lifted up to the Lord like one who is walking a mile in the same shoes!
  • Drop off a loaf of really good bread (even if you didn't bake it) just because.  It warms the heart in more ways than one.
The simple ways to encourage another are limited only by your imagination.  Doing such powerful small things can become our daily act of worship. And once again God can prove through our actions that He is the ultimate recycler of our pains.

2 comments:

  1. This is so true. We run from job, to home, to sports so hectically. Waiting on a line? Stuck in a doctor's office? Taking the time to send a quick email or text to that someone that has been on your mind may be just what they need.

    Remember, even through such a small gesture you are letting God use you to touch a heart...

    Be blessed.

    ;)

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  2. Our friends at Cincinnati Vineyard have inscribed over the entrance to their church "Small things done with great love will change the world."

    A little encouragement goes a long way. As a doc, it's amazing how few people say thank you. I'm sure that's the same for ministry staff and volunteers. Thanks for reminding your readers of the importance of encouraging others.

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