My husband and I were sitting in a Texas Roadhouse eating dinner on Friday night. Three out of four of our kids’ planned activities had been cancelled so we invited them to come with us. We knew it would end up being a rather expensive evening, but it had been a long week, so we decided to splurge.
Just as we were getting ready to ask for the check, our waiter came up and informed us that an anonymous party had paid for our meal. Can I tell you that that was the nicest surprise we have had in a very long time? Nothing like that had ever happened to us before. We have our suspicions about who it was, but we will never really know…but isn’t that a nice thing not to know? It made us feel special just that someone would do that for us.
The next morning, I was getting a few groceries when I was distracted by a distressing phone call. My thoughts left grocery-shopping and went in a completely different direction. I hurried to get my few things and checked out. As I grabbed my bag and started heading to my car, two young men were walking toward me. One of them shouted, “Hey, you forgot your milk!” I looked back. Sure enough, there sat my gallon of milk in the cart. After giving my heartfelt thanks for saving me some extra hassle on that busy day, I went back and got my milk.
The next afternoon we had lunch at my in-laws because she knew I was having a party at my house later that day that was going to take some time to prepare for and she didn’t want me to have to cook lunch. So after church, we headed there for a quick lunch, where I didn’t have to cook or clean up after a meal for my family.
So what do all of these things have in common? All of these people saw something and then acted upon it. They saw a neat opportunity to surprise someone…a way to save a lady some time…and a daughter-in-law that needed some extra help. I am so grateful to those who were so kind to me.
And I wonder if I am so observant? Do I see needs in the lives of others and then act upon them? Or am I so caught up in my own world that my focus is stuck “inward” at all times?
Am I so set on my shopping list, that I don’t notice the little old lady who is starving for conversation?
Am I so wrapped up in my busy schedule, that I don’t have time to help my neighbor with their project?
Am I so engrossed in my own conversation, that I don’t bother to give a smile and word of encouragement to a distressed mom in the restaurant?
You see, as believers, we are called to think outside of ourselves at all times. Jesus said, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31). Do we realize that this doesn’t mean just on Sundays or just on mission trips or just when we feel like it? This is a command that should dominate our every moment. We should always be looking for ways to bless, encourage, and help others…just as we long to be blessed, encouraged, and helped.
This is so difficult for me, because I have my own life and problems to worry about. And yet, ironically enough, when I stop thinking about me and my own problems, I am so much happier! It doesn’t seem like it should be that way, but it is true. When I live in my own self-centered little world I am unhappy, dissatisfied, and unpleasant to be around but when I think outside of me I feel like I am being of some use to my Heavenly Father and I feel content.
So let’s open up our eyes and see where we can be of some encouragement and meet some needs. Let’s take our focus and turn it outward. Let’s always be looking for ways to bless others!