Lewis Carroll said it best, “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”
Have you ever done something for someone that you felt they really needed? That you felt you would appreciate if you were in the same circumstances?
Have you ever given them encouraging words when you knew times were tough for them?
These may have been things that weren’t really extraordinary for you, but you hoped that something you said or did made a difference in their life.
Recently, I offered encouraging, life-giving words to someone I knew was struggling. I could feel it in my soul, before they even shared what was going on, that they were going through a rough time. God laid them heavy on my heart. And I responded by lifting them up in prayer to Him.
I felt good about doing this. I felt like I had made a difference. I felt that they appreciated my uplifting words.
Until they weren’t acknowledged.
Then I began to feel all yucky inside. I began to feel inadequate…less than…not good enough…
This really made me start thinking about why we do things for others. And why others do things for us.
Recently, a friend of mine toted me and my kids to the ER when I was feeling terrible. I knew I couldn’t drive myself. I was in a position that I desperately needed her help. I think about how she had to rearrange her schedule to do this. I think about how she did it so selflessly and without complaint.
This same friend is picking up my son to take him to a 4-H meeting tonight because my daughter came home from school not feeling well.
I have another friend that has taken both of my kids on fun outings because she wants them to go. Or because I had something to do.
In turn, I’ve kept one of her kids for her because she had something to do.
My point is, this is what we do…we help each other out…we encourage and love and lift each other up in prayer and do for one another because God never intended us to live in solidarity. He made us to be relational beings. We were made to be in relationships with one another.
It takes a village, people. No matter if there are two adults in the household or just one – as in my case – we all need each other.
Proverbs 18:24 tells us that, “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
We read in 1 John 4:21 that, “…Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.”
Jesus tells us in Luke 6:29 that if someone wants our coat, we are to offer them our shirt too. Meaning, we are to withhold nothing from our brothers and sisters.
Someone once said, “If you give and regret the giving, your heart will be as empty as your hands.”
I say all of this to come to this point…it’s not my responsibility how people react to what I do for them. Just like I tell my kids all of the time, you have no control over anything anyone else says or does. The only things you can control are your actions and your words.
God doesn’t expect me to concern myself with how the other person responds to how I treat them. God wants me to be concerned with obeying Him and stepping out in faith and love to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I’m to come when He calls. I’m to pray when He places a burden on my heart for someone. I’m to give when I’m led to give. That’s where my responsibility ends.
How I react when He calls me out is what I will have to give an account for. Nothing more. Nothing less. Was I obedient to Him when He called me?