During the early years of homeschooling, our children would read the Pathway Readers, written during a more simple era. One lesson from them stood the test of time. I must have quoted this a hundred times in my life as a parent!
“If you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend.”
Recently, we had a chance meeting with a man from our community. (Actually, is anything really chance?) He offered us his friendship — just because. After spending a bit of time with him, we could easily see that he lives out what he teaches in a little book he wrote. It’s called The Success Puzzle and in it, he explains simple, yet profound, truths on making the most of our opportunities.
One way Dick blesses others is to give his little book away to those he meets. Needless to say, it has been relished as we read the wisdom contained therein. The quotes below are a sampling of the truths found in his book:
“Friendships matter in life and in our journey of making a difference.”
A friend is “one who influences in the right direction.”
“Our major concern is that we be a friend to someone else.”
“Teach the lesson that you are not being a friend when you help someone do wrong.”
You know, there are always opportunities to re-learn things we thought we knew and practice things we thought we were good at. This was one of them!
Let’s Do Things God’s Way
Life is entirely about being drawn to do things God’s ways and in His timing. In living life on planet Earth, we spend most of our lives learning that our ways can’t be trusted because we so often act out of selfishness. Then we learn that trusting God’s way is always best. And guess what? God promises we will certainly gain blessings when we follow a path of obedience and faith. Seems simple, doesn’t it?
Ah, but it’s not that simple! And why? Because we were born in sin and continue to follow our flesh. It takes the “work” which Paul exhorts us to, to live and walk out our faith. It takes work to go against our flesh, our way, our selfish path of getting what we want in life. Not really simple at all. But then again, could it be?
Could it actually be simple if we would just cultivate the strong faith spoken of in ages past?
Could we really do this obedience thing and live out the love of Christ?
Could we simply trust?
Let Go. Let God.
I’m beginning to believe we can. But in order to do it, we have to let go of all the extra stuff we have believed and learned and lived since we took our first breath! You know, the greed, selfishness, fear, guilt, anger, pride… Yikes, that sounds difficult. Yet as each day passes, I’m seeing life wearing. me. down. And I’m realizing God allows it for my good. He allows it for all our good!
God wants our flesh and our will to be worn down so He can use us for His good. As life takes its toll on us, we begin to see how pointless all our striving is. Striving to get what we want, do what we think is best, and serve self above all. Where has it gotten us really?
Oh, the peace and rest that comes from surrendering self to God and His purposes.
Love God. Serve Others.
So where am I headed here? Simply to impress on us that loving and serving the God above must bring us to loving and serving those around us. (Even when they aren’t lovely or perfect or the least bit like us.)
Here’s my point, and it’s one I’m trying to remember every day! —
Every one of us is trying to live here on earth the best we know how.
And believe it or not, God has offered us a reality and a direction for love and true success in life. It isn’t by making tons of money, or gaining acclaim on the internet, or by having the most likes on Facebook. It’s by loving and offering those around us a sense of value, just for being alive on this planet.
So let’s be a friend to others.
Let’s offer a smile – a simple kindness – a word of encouragement.
Let’s give them a sense of what Christ’s love feels like as they walk in our door.
This, my friend, is what it’s all about! Help others to do good and not evil. Help them to see they are worth something in a world that makes us all feel very small.
It’s all too easy to follow what everyone else is doing. To talk behind one another’s backs. To add to the gossip. To avoid those who don’t look like us. To hang with only those who behave the way we think they should. Instead….
Let’s be kind.
Let’s see one another as God sees us….Beloved. Child. Rescued.
Today, let’s give the gift of Love & Life. Our life in Christ can lift us higher than we imagined as we view others the way God views each of us.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4