Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Making a Difference

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:36-40  (ESV)

My daughter's first visit to the dentist occurred when she was eighteen months old.  There weren't any problems but her physician wanted to make sure she was established with a good provider of dental care.  The pediatric dentist that we visited had a nook full of toys that she found very quickly.  She started playing but as she was doing so she was looking around the room at the other patients and their parents.  She began taking toys to everyone in the waiting room.  It was one of the sweetest things I had ever seen.  She didn't stop until each person had a toy.  I remember hoping that she kept that sweet heart for her entire life.  So far, she has.  

I can remember in my own childhood how everyone knew their neighbors and were there to help each other if the need arose.  There were neighborhood get-togethers that everyone participated in.  The families knew each other and were comfortable asking for help if it was needed.  One day, as I was playing outside, I heard a car skid to a stop and the lady that was driving began screaming that she "didn't mean to."  What had happened was that a young boy a couple of houses down from ours had run out in the street and had been hit.  My father, who knew CPR, ran to help, as did another neighbor who was a nurse.  This little boy would not have lived had they not gotten there quickly.  

As I read the news today, I have to wonder how so much has changed over the years.  Each day brings news of tragedies that are mind-boggling.  School shootings.  A young man killed his mother with a baseball bat.  Human trafficking.  Terrorism. Abortion.  Hate because of differences in political opinion.  Lack of honor and respect.  So many things that we would never have even imagined decades ago.  It seems there is more attention given to which star's marriage is breaking up than to the breakdown of morality.  

So what can we do?  How can we bring about positive change?  The answer is that it has to start within ourselves.  We need to determine if we have strayed from God's leading.  Then we need to return to what we know is right.  First, we love Him.  Second, we love others.  It is up to us to set the example.  We need to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.  We need to be available for those around us.  Neighbors need to reach out and develop relationships with one another again.  When we encounter those who are hard to love, and we will, then we need to seek the Lord's help and allow Him to love them through us.  Our own fears and inhibitions need to be set aside so that we can spread the Good News and put the needs of others above our own.  This all requires heavenly boldness that will only come when we seek His will above our own and understand how urgently the world needs Jesus.  

I realize this won't happen in an instant.  However, we can start small by paying attention to what is going on around us and being empathetic to the hearts that are hurting.  Everyone needs kindness.  They need to be noticed and accepted.  Very small gestures can make huge differences.  By making this our habit we encourage others to do the same and slowly our part of the world can begin to change.  

I pray that you are able to see the blessings in your own life so that you can share them to bless others.  I hope you have a week filled with His presence and know that you are loved beyond description.  

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