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I have a friend that seems so sensitive to the smallest things that bless others. It’s like she somehow knows when I’ve forgotten my to-go cup and she shows up at work with a coffee for me.
Do you know people like this? Maybe even beyond personal friends, you’ve been the recipient of an older lady offering to hold your crying baby while you wrestle a wriggly toddler on an airplane, or someone ahead of you in the drive through pays for your order.
Once, I was leaving the grocery store with my toddler grandson and infant foster love. Both boys were hot and hungry, and both were screaming at the top of their lungs. I turned on the air, wrangled them both in their car seats, then went to the back of my car to begin loading all the groceries. Beside me stood an elderly man. He was covered in what appeared to be fresh bruises and several bandages with blood visible beneath them. He looked at me and said, “I see you’re having a tough time.” I told him I was and it appeared like he might be, too. He laughed and said that he had been trying to clean up around his backyard pool the previous day and had slipped and fallen on the concrete surrounding the pool. Since he lived alone, it had taken him some time to get himself in a position to get to his phone and call for help. I expressed my concern and sympathy for his plight. His response was, “I’m going to be fine, young lady, and so are you. Now you get those sweet babies home, love on them as much as possible, and look forward to another day.”
He has no idea what his words did to encourage my overwhelmed heart!
Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Isn’t that amazing? As a child of God, good works are prepared ahead of time for us! They’re in our path to be discovered and completed. I don’t know about you, but I love a good treasure hunt! And, nothing can be a greater treasure than finding the things God has prepared for me to do!
As I’ve spent some time unfolding this verse, and praying specifically for God to open my eyes to these prepared good works, I find them often and in surprising places. Many times I have thought that doing a good work would have to be something big and difficult. I saw it as something that would require great energy and time, and be very burdensome to be worthy of the term, “good work”. What I’ve learned, though, is that they mostly come to me in the smallest and most humble ways.
Having these small and humble things revealed to me has reassured me that God knows my capabilities in any moment. I know His strength will be provided for me when mine isn’t enough. It also appears that others are often blessed by us sharing our weaknesses, as the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
So, what is your weakness? I feel as though I’ve been challenged the most in doing good in the areas in which I’m weak. I think this is a combination of avoiding something I don’t feel that I am good at doing, and also avoiding sharing my vulnerabilities with others. As God has placed on my heart ways to do good works, more and more I’m seeing that they are in the very areas in which I struggle. Facing this has sharpened me, humbled me, and made me more transparent with others. It has broken down the walls of pride. It has reminded me that my personal journey is a story to be shared with others, so that they might be encouraged in what the Lord can do.
You may be asking, what are these small ways we can complete the good works that were prepared for us to do? The answer is simple. Look for them! Watch for the elderly person loading their groceries into their trunk. Listen for the overwhelmed new mom that could use a dinner to lessen her load. Do you see your neighbor pulling weeds? Join them and pull a few. Invite that new coworker to coffee. Sit with a new person attending your church. Share your story with someone that’s broken. Much like the elderly man I mentioned earlier, your words of encouragement can make all the difference. Above all, pray that God will reveal to you the ones in your path that need these works. He will show you exactly what you should do. He will strengthen you to do it every time.
Let’s pray for Him to reveal to us how we can meet this challenge. Let’s be encouraged by every chance we receive to do these good works. Let’s share them with our Christian brothers and sisters to spur them to do the same. Let’s stand firm, walk by faith, and love like Jesus!
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Rest, recovery, and relaxation are important, and the Bible tells us to embrace them. But for many people taking the time to do these things is difficult. We live in a society that is always on the go, and we are expected to be as well. There is always something that needs to be done, and we can always find something to occupy our time.
But our compilation of Bible verses about rest tells us that we need to make time for ourselves, and not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. It is essential for our well-being. Let's explore God's word for guidance on how to prioritize R&R.
August 30, 2021
Your good work today was writing this. These were words I needed to hear!