Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Caring for Others

The following is excerpted from Phillip Keller's book What Makes Life Worth Living. May it encourage you to brighten someone's day today.

We cannot claim to be Christian men and women and then not care for others.

By caring I do not refer to the popular programs and special strategies so often established by church leaders, which try to impact society, or the never-ending efforts by various agencies to reach out to the lost and perishing. They have their place, and they do perform a worthwhile role. But here I am dealing with the firsthand, personal, often private, interaction one person has with another. Because if our generation is to get a glimpse of God in this present era, they must first detect something of His character in me … in you!

In our pilgrimage through life it is inevitable that, unless we live very cloistered, self-centered lives, our daily paths will cross the trails of others. These encounters are no chance meetings or merely random events. Rather, they are opportunities for us to quietly do something beautiful for our Father and for those strangers He sends to us.

As we well know, our lives as God’s people are under the most intense scrutiny from a watching world. Astonishing as it may sound, they not only observe what we do, but they scrutinize what kind of people we are. They may scoff at our devotion to Christ, yet they expect us to be distinct and different in our deportment toward them.

Therefore I have come to realize how very important it is to treat others with respect, dignity, good cheer, and gratitude. A warm smile, a firm handshake, a caring touch on the shoulder, a sincere compliment, a lighthearted bit of humor, a genuine expression of encouragement – each can ignite a sense of worth and hope in the day for another pilgrim on the path of life.

We must come to see clearly, then, that our Father expects us to be benevolent people who diffuse pleasure wherever we are called to serve. In a sense we can be sincere souls who shine like real rainbows in the rough storms of life.

When at last our Father calls us home to be with Him, we should leave behind a legacy of love, goodwill, and good cheer, by which we are remembered. Few of us will ever lay much claim to fame in this world. But each of us can bring a touch of kindness and genuine concern to those we meet on the common crossroads of life.

This has always been Christ’s intention for those who follow Him. He calls us into His family as His little children. He asks us to look with compassion on others. He encourages us in order that we in turn should also encourage each other on the tough trails we tramp with tears. He fills us with fresh hope that, by the same measure, we should inspire those around us with new hope amid their hardships. He fills us with His own glorious gladness, expecting that this delight and joy in Him will ignite others with His exuberance.

Spurgeon, that splendid British minister, once made the stirring comment, “He who climbs above the care of this world, and turns his face to his God, has found the sunny side of life.” And those who share the sunshine will be heartily welcomed by those who have grown weary and worn along the way.

2 comments:

Krista said...

That is a good quote. Thanks for sharing. I have recently started reading The Law of Kindness by Mary Beeke, and that quote goes along with what I have been reading about kindness.

JRL said...

Jennifer,

I really enjoyed this post. Very thought provoking and challenging to live lives that reflect Christ.

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