“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:9-13)
We can’t possibly do everything. But for goodness sake, we simply cannot do nothing!
People are hurting. Lots of them. Everywhere. We must not be wrapped up in our self-absorbed world, unaffected by the plight of others. Their woes have everything to do with us.
It matters that we listen to that single mom coping with the recent death of her husband and trying to make her way through the treacherous landscape of loss. Let’s express kindness with our eyes. Let’s refrain from giving advise long enough for her to unload her barrage of words that have been hiding behind that curtain of grief strung haphazardly across the windowsill of her soul.
It matters that we put down our tasks and pick up the phone to dial that friend we’ve heard is struggling with setbacks, making his way through an impenetrable forest of nonsensical days. Check to see how he is coping with all the changes blocking the sunlight that once streamed uninterrupted into his life. Figure a way to make him laugh. Ask him a question or two, and then shut up so he can divulge the path entangling his feet at present.
It matters that we respond to the desperate pleas coming from Eastern Europe where lives are being shattered by the tragic bombardment of war; that we sacrifice a bit and forgo our concerns temporarily in order to focus attention on what we might possibly do from here to carry the inescapable burdens that our brothers and sisters bear. Let’s convince a friend or two to get off the sidelines and get involved with us.
It matters that we pray heart-wrenching, agonizing cries for those in need, for the children wrenched apart from fathers, for the displaced and the marginalized and the refugees running for their lives with little in their hands. We must not allow the constant barrage of images on our screens to dull our hearts and inoculate us with the vaccine of indifference.
It matters that we wrap our arms around the broken who are unaware how deeply they are loved by the Father. They haven’t yet heard the glorious news of how tenderly God cares and that he is willing to pour healing into their wounds. Share his love. Let’s tell them the story of how he safely carried us through a minefield of challenges in a season not too long ago.
Let them discern from our voice and our actions the call to keep hoping, to keep believing, to keep going. Let them know we care; let them hear the news that our Lord always does.
This week, my niece Sarah readily agreed to lend me her car for an appointment while ours was tied up for the day. To show my appreciation, I gifted her with a small, delicate arrangement of creamy roses. Later that afternoon, her son Carson asked why I had brought the flowers. Sarah explained that when someone is kind or thoughtful, the one being blessed often expresses their thanks with a gift of some kind. Carson quickly hopped up, went to his room, brought back one sticky, gummy bear, and placed it in Sarah’s palm. “Thank you for making me macaroni and cheese,” he said.
Let’s all be a little more like that sensitive, self-aware four-year-old. Let us recognize how much the Father has blessed us and happily, graciously respond to God’s many gifts with an outpouring of thanks by compassionate acts for those he brings our way. Let’s put a token of sweetness in the hands of God by generously ministering any way we can.
We are called to tend to others until that day when he calls us home. Do it this week.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
(Sunflowers: Ukraine National Flower)