"Sure, I'd be happy to help," I replied as I reached down to grab the side of the lazy boy. We loaded it into the trunk of his car as he told me it would be his bed for the night. I asked, "What do you mean?" "I don't have a bed," he replied. "I usually sleep on a blanket on the floor of my apartment." "I'm glad this will be of use to you," I said. "Do you have any other needs?" "No, not really," he replied as he got into his car, "I'm grateful for your lazy boy."
Thirty minutes ago, I carried this La-Z-Boy out to the curb. We live in a neighborhood where almost anything you place on the side of the road someone sees a need for or they can sell it for some cash. This encounter reminded me of my many blessings - family, home, and jobs.
It's easy for me to take things for granted or feel entitled. I can't imagine that the man I met earlier planned his life to end up sleeping in a recliner for his bed.
We never wish or aim for the worst in our lives, but sometimes observing the difficult circumstances of others can inspire us to be more generous with what we have and cultivate a grateful heart.
We are living in difficult times and there are many needs around us, globally and locally, that invite our attention. Meeting every need in the grand scheme is not our duty but we can focus on the needs right in front of us, even when they are inconvenient or overwhelming. We have loved ones, friends, and neighbors who could benefit from a simple phone call or text just to check in on them. Do we know of individuals who would appreciate a visit or a note conveying our prayers for them? We are the light of the world as the Lord shines through us to others. We are His reflection. My reflection of Him becomes very dull when I solely think about myself and my needs.
My mom is suffering from many ailments and some are very serious. She desires visits solely for the purpose of conversing and having company. I am aware of her longing for such interactions but to be honest it challenges me. I go at times to visit her with the specific task of taking care of her practical needs and then moving on. She desires someone to listen and sit with her, a challenge even for this seasoned chaplain. I find it more challenging to care for family than strangers. I am not proud of this growing edge in my life, but I am grateful that I see it and that I can do things differently.
Where is God calling you to grow in caring for others, family, or yourself? Taking good care of oneself is the foundation of providing heartfelt care for others. We cannot give people something that we do not have ourselves. Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Please take a moment with me to consider this with our hearts. When we serve others we serve Jesus. It is as simple as that. What a beautiful opportunity to show Him just how much we love Him through others.
Dear Lord, we pray that you grant us the ability to see others through your eyes. May we possess the compassion to listen attentively to the needs of those around us, and above all, may we have a heart like yours that is willing to sacrifice for the sake of others. Lord, we ask that you help us become more like you in a world that desperately needs your Light.
How can I serve you this day?
A prayer, an ear, or just a presence to be yourself with another?