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]
I like to keep an open house. When someone comes over, they see us as we are—nothing gets tossed in a closet or swept under the rug. I do not need an advance notice to prepare. The kids’ friends walk in and out as they wish, and they know that they are welcome to anything to eat or drink.
The Bible says to let your light shine before people because God will get the glory and people will take notice. The Message says, “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God.” As you welcome others into your home, into your life, as you let them see the real you, there is a great testimony presented without you even saying a word.
I am blessed with some very special people in my life. They say their house is my house. I can go to visit and walk in and sit down like it is my own home. It is great. You feel wanted. You feel loved. You feel “at home.” I can only think of how it will be one day when we will all be at home—with our Father. Be generous with your lives. Show people love. Show people Jesus. You don’t have to make it difficult. Simply invite people in and watch how God uses the simple gestures to open doors you never saw coming.
“Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
-Matthew 5:16 [MSG]
This past week was a difficult one for me. My routine was missing in action. Sleep escaped me. My level of pain was at its highest. We were relocating. I was working every day, all day. It was draining.
I was standing at work in pain, tired and dreading the end of my shift when I would return home to move more stuff to the new place. I asked a friend if she had some hard candy like a Lifesaver, because my throat was dry. Little did I know, a customer was listening to the conversation. As I finished with his order, he handed me the Lifesavers. I argued that it was against policy to accept things from customers. He then said he would leave them sit for me, that it was his policy to be nice. Jokingly, the lady behind him said she liked Three Musketeers. I was amazed as I spied him picking up yet another small gift to bring another smile around.
My day was not going well. I was exhausted and found myself on the verge of tears, nearly falling asleep standing, and wearing more braces than ever before because my body was feeling the week’s work. Then here came this fellow who became a lifesaver for a moment. His attitude and generosity had a great impact on me and the other customer. One small gesture had a ripple effect. It was a great reminder of our great Lifesaver. The gentleman paid attention to those around him and took action. It did not cost him a lot of money. It did not cost him a lot of time. This reminds me of something Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” – 1 John 4:7 [MSG]
We tend to complicate things as humans. I have seen so many writings and videos providing instructions that seem unnecessary. The problem is we overcomplicate things even to the point of piling on extra baggage. In Hosea, it says that God does not want sacrifices above all else—he wants us to show love. Further, he doesn’t want burnt offerings—he wants you to know him.
Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the price for our sins so that once and for all there would no longer be this separation between us and God. Nothing ever again can get in the way of the relationship we have with God—that is unless we allow it. Unfortunately we often overcomplicate things. Some of us are legalistic. Some of us focus so much on sacrifices and offerings, but we lack the love. We put other things above knowing God.
You might love things and love people, but do you show love? Consider how you showed love this week. Is it a daily thing? Is it a way of life? You might know your neighbor but you don’t know your neighbor like you know your spouse. You know a spouse differently. God wants for you to know him in this type of way. That requires time. That requires a desire to know him. But it’s not a complicated thing to show love or to know God. Focus on him. Complications are just stumbling blocks.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]