Jesus is the best example I know of someone who cared for the people around him with no concern for himself or how it might look to others. He didn’t wat until it was convenient to help someone, in many cases he actually went out of his way to talk to someone or to help them. He broke protocols to care for people on days when it was illegal. When his disciples said “it is too much,” he said: “come.” Jesus never brought shame on a person for their circumstances—he asked questions and spent time listening to them. He walked with them and told them it would be better with him. He willingly came to the mentally ill (demon possessed), the untouchables (the hemorrhaging woman and lepers), and the ones living in sin (the woman at the well, the tax collector).
Jesus never said I don’t have time. He may have said, “I will be there” as with Lazarus, but he came. He never said, “I don’t have time for you or your problems.” And contrary to popular belief, he NEVER said God helps those who help themselves. He knew there would be times when it was so dark or we were so deep in shame that we didn’t believe help was possible.
It is a hard model to emulate today in the busyness of our lives. However, Jesus did say: “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (John 13:15), and then he compassionately washed the feet of his apostles the night before he died. See even the midst of his suffering, knowing what was coming, he stopped and cared for the people closest to him. Such unconditional love and compassion can be difficult to copy. And yet, if we embrace this powerful example of his, it should become a natural response for us too.
I have been on the receiving end of such compassion. I remember our youth pastor showing up at our door with soup when my daughter and I were down with the flu. A powerful act of kindness, one of many he displayed. Or the night a dear friend knocked on my door with Advil because I was so sore from packing up my house I couldn’t move or sleep. Or the time friends and family dropped everything on Sunday to come sit with us the day my husband and my daughter’s father died. I have had friends spend their time helping me to clean my home, or put up a new ceiling, or talk hours with me when my heart was broken. And they never asked for anything in return. They simple came in love and compassion to bring a healing touch into my life.
No matter your age or marital status, this giving unselfishly to another is a good thing to do. I have been so touched and inspired by these acts of kindness that I now do all I can to pass it on. It is a real joy and blessing to see these virtues in my daughter as well. I will confess that there are days when I may have to push myself outside of my comfort zone, but when I ask God to go first, and to be in the middle of all circumstance, somehow I find a strength I didn’t know I had. When we do for others out of a Christ-centered love, we do it trusting that he knows the next right thing to do. I encourage you as you consider your own circumstances—as a single, a married, a boomer, a boomer’s kid—think how God can use you to love on someone and bring them peace and comfort in their day.
For Jesus tells us in John 13: 34-35 “…love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- Who do you know that could use a gentle touch from you today? Who needs dinner out or a cup of tea shared between friends?
- How can you structure your time to deliberately reach out to others in your community and carry their burdens with them?
- What can you do in the coming week to identify someone to share your phone number or email with in case they need to cry out in the night for help?