It was the worst day of my life.
The humidity in the air felt thick as I loaded up the last of my personal things into my car. The office I had occupied for nearly five years was now empty, waiting for my replacement.
I had no idea what was next, but what I did know was that I was not sure how I was going to pay bills over the next few weeks. This weighed heavy on my heart, but I had no idea how to communicate that to anyone. I soon found out that I didn’t need to.
My friend John walked up to give me a hug and say goodbye. John and I had been unexpected friends. We could not be more different, but we had forged an unusually strong bond. As we pulled away from each other, he handed me a roll of cash: $2000. He winked at me and said it was from his emergency stash in his closet.
God used John, that day, to remind me that He knows and He will take care of me. God’s faithfulness, once again, was expressed through the actions of a friend.
Have I been that kind of insanely generous friend to someone else? Has God ever used me to express His love for someone? Have I been available to do that?
I can think of myriad examples where I have responded in a way that might cause someone to question God’s love for them. I have been stingy, curt, cold…the opposite of my friend, John. Ouch!
How do we develop consistent compassion for others? How can we act in a way that makes it almost an instinctive response, rather than a chore?
My friend Shawn suggests a good starting point: ask questions.
Don’t ask the questions that will give you what you need to fulfill your agenda. Ask the simple questions. How is your family? How did your job interview go? How are you?
Ask the questions, then listen and watch.
Listen for the meaning behind the words spoken. Watch for opportunities to be an expression of God’s love.
Those many years ago as I walked away with cash in my pocket to get me through the next few weeks, I can’t remember if I saw it for what it was in that moment. But I see it now and it humbles me.
God desires to use each of us to be a blessing to the people around us.
Ask. Listen. Watch.