As the dogs and I were walking along, I noticed that Marci was walking differently. I picked her up and found something on the bottom of her foot that I quickly removed.
Observation – paying attention – requires us to be intentional. It is necessary to be intentional to understand the needs of the people around you. In this busy world, we often don’t listen when someone is talking with us, because we are trying to contemplate the best answer to the conversation or even thinking about the next task we must accomplish, looking beyond the current interaction. Many times, we are so stuck on ourselves and our goal is to be heard instead of to listen. Also, we are rarely present in the moment, and yet this presence is what is needed to show love and compassion to others. Time is precious, and how you use time is a choice. Do you choose to run around on empty and allow the situations around you to dictate your actions? Do you attempt to be in the moment wherever you are at, being at attention, and calmly following the leading of your Father?
Notice that Jesus was always intentional—always present – and able to understand the needs of those around Him. He spent much time in prayer. He spent much time interacting with people, whereby He invested in their lives, actively listening and engaging in conversation. Conversation, such a lost art today.
Today, be mindful of what is happening around you. Wherever you go, be there. Slow down. Listen for His still small voice. Invest in those before you. Enjoy the people God has put before you, and ask God how you can bless them today to bring Him glory.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19 [ESV]
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3 [NIV]
When the word overflowing comes to mind, I always think of the disasters that occurred over the years. The pots on the stove that overflowed while cooking, creating a huge mess. The clog toilet that overflowed. One of the biggest things that comes to mind is the time the creeks, lakes, and rivers overflowed during the flood and we saw people paddling down the streets, and houses and roads devastated by flood waters. Something that overflows is excessive and unable to be contained.
Now think of overflowing love. This is a love that pours out of us in excess. It is outrageous. It is uncontained. It is something that comes from God. Remember, God the Father loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34). The Holy Spirit poured out to all believers produces fruit, and love is the first mentioned (Galatians 5:22).
God’s love is described as unfailing, unconditional, and eternal. God’s love is overwhelming, immeasurable, and relentless. The Spirit of God can help you to love deeper and wider. Pray for the compassion, love, for a heart for people. Ask the Spirit to help you to love like God loves. Pray that your love with overflow. May this love be excessive. May this love be outrageous. May this love pour out everywhere you go and point everyone you encounter to the One Who is Love.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9 [NLT]
God is good to everyone. Yes, everyone! This is tough for some people to grasp. Because God is good, He is good to everyone. This means that He will be good to even those people we do not think deserve good. This also means that He only does good things. When something bad is happening in your life, it’s possible that He allowed it—but He does not pour out evil. So often people credit God to things and they miss the boat.
Today, recognize that God is good and He is good to everyone. As well, He calls us to be share in His goodness and spread it. Be intentional with your encounters today. Ask the Spirit if you are not being good to some people. Ask to be more compassionate.
“The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” – Psalm 145:9 [NLT]
Yielding to others is difficult. Try driving in a roundabout with everyone thinking they are justified in going first. There’s a pattern to the road plan that has given drivers a time to yield and a time for others to yield. The world tells us we shouldn’t have to yield. The world tells us that we are owed the opportunity to go first. The world has caused us to think we must rush around, without pausing to allow someone else to go, because there isn’t enough time.
Yielding to others is not simply something we are to do when we are driving. We are to yield to others in life too. Another way to say this is being reasonable or accommodating. You might consider this to be very sacrificial in some regards, or it could be something very small. At the end of the day, if we are not willing to yield to others, if we are not flexible and able to adapt for others, we will neglect those that God has placed before us. We will charge over them just like someone who rushes into a roundabout without acknowledging the yield sign.
Today, consider how you interact with others. Remember that we aren’t supposed to be stressed out and OCD over every area of life. We need to be willing to yield to others as we go through our days. This demonstrates our compassion for others. This is a way of surrendering to the fact that you are not in control. This is all about thinking more about the ministry than about your selfish desires or pride. If you aren’t at a place where you feel ready to yield, continue to fix your eyes above. Remember that this is a wisdom that comes from above.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:17 [NLT]
We often like to think the best of ourselves. We do not realize how corrupt our heart is, so it difficult to take a good hard look at ourselves and see the truth. In Jeremiah 17:9, we read, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Deceitful. The MOST deceitful of all things. Desperately wicked—so wicked we cannot say how bad.
Today’s verse says that no one does good. That means that even you do not do good. You are part of the “not a single one.” That is hard to handle. We find it hard to come to terms with the fact that we are not good—that we are corrupt. The truth is, no matter how many good things we do, we have bad things that we think and do—things we do not even realize. But God can see through every crack and crevice. He sees the corruption. He sees the deceitfulness. He sees the wickedness from within us.
The awesome good news is that He loves us anyway, and He has made a way for us to be in right relationship with Him. Despite the corruption, despite not doing good—He has made a way for us to come before Him, covered in the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. We are clothed in His righteousness, made right with God through Him. Today, thank God for His great mercy and His unfailing love. Seek His righteousness above all else. Remember, no one does good—not a single one.
“But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” – Psalm 53:3 [NLT]
In Psalm 28:5, we read about a people who care nothing for what God has done or for what God has made. Consider this for a moment. The person cares nothing for what the Lord has done. The person cares nothing for what God’s hands have made. In this verse we read about 1) acknowledging God – Who He is and what He has done, and 2) caring for what God has made.
The people did not care about God, about what He made, about what He did. They lacked adoration for God. They lacked compassion for His Creation. This includes lacking compassion for people. These people were doing the opposite of what Jesus says is most important: Love God, love people.
“Care nothing” can be seen as disregard or lack of consideration. The Message translates this as the people having “no idea how God works or what He is up to.” It all points back to acknowledging the Lord and desiring a relationship with Him, wanting to know Him more. As you have this regard for Him, as you grow in your relationship with Him, you will grow in your love for the things He loves. You will care for what He has done and for what His hands have made.
“They care nothing for what the LORD has done or for what His hands have made. So He will tear them down, and they will never be rebuilt!” – Psalm 28:5 [NLT]
As I sat at my desk going through my task list, I noticed an elderly woman approaching the office door. Was she coming inside? She is not a client. I went to the door to greet her and figure out who she was and what she needed. She saw a van parked outside our office just leave, and she thought that we were the business advertised on the van. I informed her that the company was only visiting our office to do some work and apologized.
As we were about to part ways, she told me she was having a tough time. She recently moved and she was struggling to get everything in order. She was hoping to catch the man in the van, or get some answers from his associates within, only to discover she wasn’t close to the place to find answers. Nonetheless, the Spirit gave me a nudge to help her out. Little did she know; the answers were online. She was led to share her struggles. I needed to listen to the voice telling me to slow down and pay attention. In no time at all, she had the answers in hand and it was time for her to leave. It was a simple encounter, and it was easy to help her. Five minutes. But she was so grateful and she left with a smile.
We often have these encounters with strangers. Do you consider why they are brought your way? Some people are in your path to help you grow. Some people are in your path for you to bless. Some people are in your path for you to shine the Light. Don’t trivialize evangelism. Don’t think sharing the Gospel is all about big demonstrations with fancy words. Small encounters with strangers, embracing and showing compassion—these encounters are precious. Do small things with great love and watch God move in mighty ways.
“And do everything with love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NLT]
It is one thing to talk the talk. It is another thing to walk the walk. In 1 John 2, we read that the one who says that he abides in Jesus should walk the same way that Jesus walked. This means that if a person claims to remain in Jesus, to be doing life with Jesus, that person would walk in the same manner as Jesus. In doing so, the person would appear to mirror Jesus. One would look at the person and see Jesus.
Walking like Jesus requires us to be in the Word daily so we can glean from the Word how He walked. He spent time in the Word. It was written on His heart. Is it written on yours? Walking like Jesus means we are continually in prayer – that we continually are aware of the presence of God. Remember how Jesus left the group to pray? Do you take time to pray? Walking like Jesus means we love like He loves, forgive as He forgave, serve as He served.
Today, consider your steps. Are you walking like Jesus? Are you a person of compassion? Do you love with all you have? Do you have the heart of a servant? You can talk the talk, but a true disciple walks the walk.
“Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” – 1 John 2:6 [ESV]
Many times we pick and choose who we want to show kindness. It is a lot easier that way. We don’t need to address any of our own personal issues when we desire to show love and kindness to a person. We can stay in our comfort zone. The problem is, we aren’t meant to stay in our comfort zone, and we are commanded to love everyone. This includes loving those who are not easy to love.
In Matthew 25, we read about the Sheep and the Goats, the final judgment. In Verse 35, Jesus begins to share that what we do for others we are doing for Him. When we feed someone who is hungry, we feed Him. When we give someone who is thirsty a drink, we are refreshing Him. When we clothe the naked, we are clothing Him. When we visit someone who is sick or in prison, we are visiting Him. This can be helpful to self-examination, to looking inward at our heart and checking our motives and our level of compassion.
It will always be easier to help someone who you know well, someone who is like you, someone you find comfortable. But we can never share the love of Christ with the world if we stay in our own little safety area. Don’t stay in the bubble this week. Say “hello” to someone new. Do something kind for a stranger. Share the love of Christ with those who come along your path.
“Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”- Matthew 25:45 [NASB]