“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” -Prov. 31:10
“She opens her hand to the poor, yes; she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]” (AMP).
Shrieking into the silent morning, the alarm clock rouses her. She rolls over, fumbles her hand over the nightstand and fingers the top of the offensive instrument. Blessed silence descends once the correct button is pressed.
It might be another typical morning. Or today could be the day when an opportunity to meet the needs of another person interferes with the regular routine.
Are we ready to serve at a moment’s notice?
There are several ways to open up to people encountered on our daily path. I’m always amazed at how the smallest things seem to make the greatest impact. Often, we will never know how we helped another person, but that certainly shouldn’t stop us from showing a little kindness.
Here is a sampling of grace from my own experiences. Five things I can do to make a difference:
- Smile – My name is written in Heaven, so I have plenty to smile about. Even if it’s pouring down rain, I dropped my purse in a puddle and my grocery list is sitting on the counter at home – and I’m at the store, I can smile. Smiling at another person will brighten their day. I’ve had people snarl a me when I smiled at them, but when I didn’t let them detour me, I could see them second-guessing their own attitude. Smiling is so simple – and it’s good for your health, too.
- Lend a hand – Maybe it’s the older lady whose cart takes off without her or the young mother struggling to juggle her baby and the toddler with endless energy. There’s always someone who could use some help. The more insignificant the act seems to you, the more likely it will impact that person. I once helped an older lady by lifting her trunk when she was carrying an armload of groceries. The relief in her eyes meant more to me than finding a wallet of hundred dollar bills ever could.
- Say something kind – It’s amazing to me that people can walk through a day isolated from other people. They go to the store and speak to no one. They never look anyone in the eye. Why? I believe it’s because they’ve been hurt more than helped by incidental interactions. Christ made himself available to everyone, whether little children or an ailing old woman. It has never hurt me to say, “Hello” to people I pass, or “Thank you” if they hold the door or step aside so I can pass by.
- Connect – This is where we’ve really dropped the ball in our age of electronic communication and rushing around to accomplish a long “to do” list. We might smile or greet people, but we never stop to really engage them. In the store a couple weeks ago, my husband and I smiled and greeted a woman who had been visiting our church. Then we stopped our cart (yes, I wanted to get out of there and go home) and asked how she was doing. We looked her in the eye. We listened to what she had to say. It took all of two minutes, and, thinking back, I feel there is no better way to show Christ’s nature to another person in such a short amount of time.
- Listen to the Holy Spirit – Sometimes I’ll get the urge to do something crazy – like talk to a stranger in the long line at WalMart. Do it. I’ve found that these brief interactions are promptings from the Lord. Too often, I choose to turn a deaf ear to that “feeling” that I should go down a certain aisle at the store. In retrospect, I know that every one of these moments was a missed opportunity. God planned an encounter, brief and inconsequential, with a person in need of one of these tiny outreaches. I missed a blessing – but worse, someone went away empty when God was trying to touch them through me.
It’s nice to consider large community outreaches – serving at a homeless shelter or delivering food to the less fortunate. Christians should include such activities in the schedule of our lives. But to clothe ourselves with true Christianity, we should be ready to share a smile or a word at any moment.
Next week: A Praiseworthy Spiritual Life