I recently read a short devotion to my children that impacted me greatly. The devotion was about a poem that was comprised of two short stanzas written by a man who had buried several of his sons.
In the first stanza a man came to visit this father and stayed a long time. The visitor talked and talked while saying all the right things. The grieving father could not wait for his friend to leave.
In the second stanza another man came to visit the father who listened, interjected briefly and listened some more. This friend was a great source of comfort and encouragement. The father hated to see his friend go when it was time for him to leave.
Since reading the devotion and poem I’ve had opportunities to use the advice. My children have also been able to put into practice what they have learned and know the better of the two approaches is to listen. There are hurting people all around us including Christians who are not immune from heartache and challenging situations. Whatever our gifts, we are all called to be obedient to His calling. I see Him growing me in this area of serving others because of my willingness to trust and respond immediately to His promptings. He sees the whole picture and can use me to be a comfort and a blessing to someone else when I’m obedient. I have learned to ask questions of those who are gifted in serving and to learn from their mentoring. One such thing my family has learned has been to have ingredients on hand for recipes we call ministry meals–meals that can easily be made for others.
When someone is hurting, it is vitally important to follow God’s promptings. I have found myself stepping out of my comfort zone on numerous occasions. I’m prone to think:
I can’t do that!
What if they already have paper products? I’ll feel ridiculous showing up with just that.
I can’t go and sit with her. I have no idea what to say.
I can’t offer to take her to dinner. What if she says no?
I can’t clean her home. What if it offends her?
Each time I have made excuses, I have put my insecurities ahead of trusting the Lord.
It is actually quite fun and exciting being on this journey of helping others with the Lord. He suggests something, and I’ve come to the place in life where I do it. I am always amazed at how His timing and His ideas are just right for every situation. Today I was having lunch with a new friend. I learned that she has a few friends that live out of town who have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy. As we talked, the Lord clearly said to me, “Buy her a ticket.” With the track record of how spot-on God’s plans are, I went home anxious to do this anonymous deed. I’m not a detailed person so my daughter actually booked the ticket and found a direct flight at a better deal. (Side note: allow other people, even your children to use their gifts and talents to assist you.)
God has equipped each of us with abilities to be a blessing to someone else. Ask Him to use you in the life of someone and then as soon as you hear His prompting of an idea, trust Him! Be obedient. Choose to be the second man in the poem who had a listening ear and you will be a blessing to someone who is hurting.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
~ Galatians 6:2