Like most couples on their day off, my wife and I were out running errands. Some obviously were more urgent than others so we set our priorities on what we could get done. As the morning wore on, we were trying to decide whether to stop at this one store to look at an item that was more consideration than essential. Since it was on our way and shouldn’t take long, we decided to stop in. Little did we know how God was directing our path that day. When we arrived, the owner stepped out of his office and greeted us. He walked slowly toward us but we could immediately tell he wasn’t feeling well and was having a hard time.
He told me he was a little short of breath and hadn’t been feeling well that morning. However, the longer we stood there, the more evident it became that he wasn’t getting better and so he agreed we should call for help. While DeeDee called the squad, I helped him back in his office where he called his wife to let her know what was going on. When I checked with his son later in the day, I found out it was a good thing we showed up and got him the medical help that he needed.
We very easily could have decided we didn’t have the time to stop but God had different plans. As a matter of fact, we had decided to skip this store but something convinced us to include it in our stops. God needed us to be there for this man. I could complete this story by taking on the role of hero but we found it more humbling than anything. God used us that day to possibly save a man’s life. We didn’t perform any great feats of valor but were where God needed us to be at that time to help someone. Thank goodness we listened to the voice in our heads telling us to stop; the alternative could have led to a very different ending to this story.
It was amazing to consider how God used something as simple as a couple out running errands to help someone in need.
I was also touched by a story shared recently in church about a woman who did not know she had a leak near her house until a neighbor told her she smelled gas. Think what the consequences might have been if that neighbor had ignored the obvious signs of a gas leak and had not spoken up! We are not designed to travel this journey alone but rather to walk in harmony with our brothers and sisters.
The Bible is full of references to how we are to help one another. Jesus Himself gives two great examples of how we are to be here not for ourselves but to help others along the way. The first one is Jesus sharing the parable of the Good Samaritan. The characters in this parable have no names but they do have identities—sworn enemies!—and the moral of the story never changes. The Samaritan is the good neighbor because he cared for the man along the road.
Another example Jesus gives of the attitude we are to have is when He talks about the final judgment. We read these words from Jesus (Matthew 25:34-40, CEB):
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’”
The “least of these” does not have to be someone who is literally hungry or thirsty or lost or naked. The “least of these” very easily could be that person you see each day who simply needs a helping hand, a kind word, or a smile.
Get your head out of your own issues and look to those around you. Find the “least of these” in your own life. Greet the harried grocery clerk with a smile. Praise your waiter for his service. Check on that elderly neighbor. Pray with the coworker who has domestic problems. You may never know in what small way God will use you to change someone’s life.
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