A soldier was returning home from war when he called his parents to let them know that he wanted to bring a friend with him. His parents quickly agreed when he made the request.
“Sure, bring him home for a few days”, they said.
The soldier informed them that this friend had one arm, one leg, one eye and a mangled face. His parents insisted that it was okay for him to bring the friend home.
He clarified that this friend would want to live with them forever.
It was then that his parents hesitated and began making excuses about why having such a damaged friend live with them was not the best idea.
“He would make their friends uncomfortable” “What would others say” “We can find a more suitable home for him” were some of the excuses made.
The soldier hung up and a few hours later his parents got a call that their son had killed himself with a gunshot to his head. The police described him as having one arm, one leg, one eye and a mangled face.
It was then that his parents knew that their son was “the friend” that he spoke of earlier; and their rejection of someone who was different, was actually their rejection of their own son.
This story always leaves me wondering: “Am I turning down an opportunity to help meet the need of another person…because it challenges the elements in my comfort zone?” “Is my love for others only limited to those who look, think and live as I do?” “Am I allowing the “difference” in others to become a barrier that prevents me from serving them as Christ has called me to serve?”
And I always end up asking God to remove and set aside self, my personal biases and agendas so that I carry the burdens of those around me, with His guidance and strength.
The people around us need us to love them as God loves us. They need a love that isn’t flaky, convenient, conditional or discriminatory. They are longing for a love that is dependable, divine and constant.
Only when we share this active love through practical service do we truly serve God.
Only when we move beyond what is safe and familiar and love others, can we reveal Christ in our hearts and experience a deeper, and different side of who God is.
V A L I D A T E
You may have someone in your life who may present their insecurities and burdens to you in an indirect way. This person may hide behind their words or move around in a circle before they feel safe to tell their story … all for fear of being rejected, like the soldier.
Listen to this person and be unafraid to ask if they are indirectly speaking about their problem.
Sometimes persons just need validation to share or describe an emotion, thought or situation.
Validate – let the person know that it is okay to have a hard time telling you about their situation and feelings and you appreciate them making the effort.
I N T E N T I O N A L L Y | L O O K | A R O U N D
Take an intentional look at those who are around you – there are many who believe that they can only be of service if they travel to another country on a mission trip. While there is nothing wrong with investing in attending international mission trips – our sense of service should never be limited to places only outside of our local country.
Right where you are is an excellent place to start serving, if you intently look around you.
“The poor always ye have with you,” (John 12:8) The socially poor may be on our street. The spiritually poor may be on our job or in our classroom. The emotionally poor may be in our homes.
There is always someone to serve. And we neglect manifesting the love of God to them when we fail to serve them.
Who is in your close circle ? What is God calling you to do, say or be to show them His love? What would ministering to this person look like today – a word of affirmation? A quick call? A hot lunch? Assistance with a chore? A word of prayer? Allow God to move to you to minister in a practical Godly way.
“Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.” Ellen G. White The Desire of Ages, p. 637-41
© 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette