The other day my husband told me about an accident he witnessed on his way to work. A few cars away, an SUV had flipped and proceeded to roll in front of him. Traffic slammed to a halt to avoid hitting or being hit by the rolling vehicle. After the vehicle flipped and landed on its side and as everyone moved out of their shock phase, observers began pulling over to check on the passenger, others blocked and detoured traffic away from the accident, while others called on their cell phones for assistance. Everyone stopped his or her world to be there for someone else. They were compelled to be the blessing. No one focused on their schedules – they immediately utilized their resources to assist someone in need.
These types of stories are far more common than we realize. Everyday people are being a blessing in large and small ways. Random acts of kindness are common, especially this time of year. Holidays and tragedies have a way of compelling us to bless others.
I am reminded of the story Jesus shared about the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man had it going on. He lived large on his opulent estate. Outside his mansion’s gate was a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus’ body was covered with sores. Now, Lazarus only begged for the crumbs from the rich man’s table. He didn’t want much. Maybe just to squeegee the rich man’s Bentley windshield for a few quarters. But the rich man never responded. He was too busy in his world of more to engage the beggar outside his gate. Probably told him to “get a job”. As time went on the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died, was buried, and ultimately ended up in hell. Little did the rich man know at the time, but Lazarus was his test. Lazarus was his one-way ticket to heaven. Lazarus represented his opportunity to be a blessing. The rich man had never learned that he was blessed to be a blessing.
Looking back on my life, I remember a time of living from paycheck to paycheck - sometimes able to pay the rent, but having more month than money to buy enough food. I can remember times eating popcorn for dinner so my children would have enough to eat (a not-on-purpose diet). I would lie to my children, telling them I wasn’t really that hungry so they wouldn’t feel guilty. Even during those times I remember feeling grateful that we were okay. My children were healthy, we loved each other and we were together. Despite these difficult times, I would still feed their friends and friends friend’s that would populate my home on Saturday nights as we gathered to talk about life, watch videos and listen to music. I remember being compelled to give a dollar or change whenever I encountered different freeway beggars that reminded me of Lazarus. We didn’t have much, but others were welcome to share in what we had. Despite the lack, during these difficult times God always sent angels of mercy to help us pay a bill, provide a meal, or bring joy to our home through visits or much needed encouragement. We were like the children of Israel in the wilderness – walking through, yet shoes never wearing out and needs always being met. In retrospect, we were truly rich.
I believe opportunities to be a blessing is presented every day, to each of us – right where we are, right where we live. We need only open our eyes to see them. We need only to yield our wants to meet someone else’s need. Somewhere near you is a little girl that could fit the too-small shirt you bought on sale for your daughter that you’re planning to sell. Somewhere near you there is a teen-age girl that needs to experience what it is to have a brand new outfit – never worn by others. What will it cost you? – A month’s worth of Starbuck’s Grande Caramel Macchiato? Think about it. Maybe this is your test.
I challenge you to open your eyes, yield your heart, and then be the blessing.