I used to not feel sorry for people who were busy. Those "soccer moms" who worked all day, then drove their six kids around to twelve different practices, and then tried to squeeze in exercise time and feed their family dinner. I used to just shake my head and lament that they did that to themselves and that it didn't affect me in the least. Not my problem. Except that we live in a world where there is always something to do, always something demanding our attention. We recently did a study on managing our time better, and I've found myself with a truckload of time and no commitments on the horizon. At first I was relishing this, and thinking about all the new recipes I was going to try, and all the things Zander and I were going to do together. Then my eyes were opened to the struggles of a friend or two.
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." 1 John 3:16-20
Let us love, not with words, but with action. How could I say I loved my friends if all I did was watch them struggle and wrestle with life. It was really impressed on me that I needed to jump into the fray and lend a helping hand. I have offered that hand and am in the midst of my own little challenge now, but I think it was worth it. Every day as I sit down to chip away at this new task before me, I can be reminded of my friend and say a prayer for them. And sometimes that's all you can do. You can encourage and pray, because often times there isn't anything you can help with, but at least you can offer. Even an offer or two for dinner could be helpful to someone who is really busy. What could be better than coming home from a busy day to dinner already prepared, and not from a drive-thru or box.
There are so many ways that we can show compassion to those we love. By opening up our eyes and our hearts to compassion, we can take a better look and see if there's some way that we might be able to help someone who is struggling. That's what Jesus would do, and it is what God wants us to do. For through us, and our actions, it's God's love that shines bright and true, and could be the greatest encouragement someone needs. Are you willing to be used by God today? Compassion is love in action, give it a try.