Member Care - Be Encouraged! - 3rd Edition
January 01, 2006 |
By Lareau Lindquist
A mother was preparing pancakes for her two young sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. They began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother wanted to teach them an important lesson so she said, “If Jesus were here, He would say ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.’” Quickly Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”
Too often, we, like Kevin, hope that others will wear the mantle of Jesus. Not me… .but you. Not us . . . but others.
The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California sponsors an annual Conference on Care and Kindness. Evie and I have attended several of these conferences. They are hosted by Dr. James R. Kok. His most recent book is The Miracle of Kindness. The first chapter is entitled, “Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone.” He urges us to always look for opportunities to demonstrate kindness to others. He wisely says, this almost always involves giving of some of ourselves or giving up something, even if it is only our sense of comfortableness or control. We must be willing to step into areas of discomfort or risky territory to deliver aid and encouragement to others. We often don’t know what to say so we say nothing . . . and do nothing. We stay hidden in our own comfort zones. Often I have heard Dr. Kok say, Ninety percent of caring is simply showing up.
Paul speaks clearly of God’s call to us to be others-oriented. He writes . . . Consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). After stating this, Paul illustrates how Jesus did that (2:6-8), and how Timothy did it (2:19-24), and how Epaphroditus did it (2:25-30).
Such thinking and living does not come naturally to any of us. We are more interested in “getting” not “giving.” There are numerous times daily when we have the choice between “me” and “others.” It is seen in the home, in the church, and almost everywhere else.
C. Neil Strait writes, kindness is more than deeds . . . it is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is also an expression of genuine love (I Corinthians 13:4). It is an attribute that needs to be added to our lives (II Peter 1:7). It is one of the numerous one-anothers that ought to characterize our lives (Ephesians 4:32).
Stephen Grellet was a French-born Quaker who died in 1855. He would be totally unknown except for these familiar words initiated by him: I shall pass through this world but once. Any good that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now and not defer it. For I shall not pass this way again.
A couple weeks ago, I received a letter from an old friend in Asia. He wrote, Seventeen years ago we met at a gathering for Christian leaders in our country. You were the speaker at the event. At the time I was a young man just getting started in the ministry. I remember feeling so small in the midst of a crowd. But you took notice of me, inquired and even talked to me. I felt great that someone like you would speak with me. Several years later you came through our country again. You called me and came over to see me. Many times through the years I have wanted to write to you. Now I finally did it and I want to say you impacted me. Maybe you don’t remember me. You influenced me then and you still do through your ENCOURAGEMENT letters. Thank you.
I only share this with you to remind you that YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, maybe a profound difference in the lives of others . . . even in short moments with them . . . in singular moments . . . also in anonymous encounters. Let’s touch one another for God’s glory and for the edification of one another.
Founder of Barnabas International