"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
April 19, 2017
Galatians 6:9-10 says, "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone -- especially to those in the family of faith."
Proverbs 3:27 says, "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it's in your power to help them."
There is a difference between being good and doing good. Being good focuses on self, while doing good focuses on others.
From the time a child is young, they will often have their parents telling them to be good, or behave themselves. What their parents are really instructing them to do is to be obedient, be respectful, have a good attitude, and act politely. Hopefully, the child will then grow into a responsible, likable adult that has good behavior.
The scriptures above tell us to not get tired of doing what is good. Whenever we have the opportunity, to do good to everyone -- especially to those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are told to not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it's within our power to do so. If we don't give up and do good, then at the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing.
What exactly does that mean? I'm sure that there would be, and have been, many explanations from others. I'm going to write about what my understanding of these scriptures are.
I believe that one meaning is that we look for opportunities to do good. It may not always be us doing something material, or hands-on, for someone; although that is often necessary. But it may mean we do good for others by speaking words of encouragement or support, or praying for them.
A few weeks ago, my father-in-law was taken to ER one Saturday evening with a broken hip. He and Jon's mom had ridden there by ambulance, with Jon and I meeting them at the hospital. Only two could stay in the examination room with him, so I sat in the ER waiting area and allowed Jon to go back with his parents. I was there for almost four hours, until Stan was finally checked into a room.
As I sat there, I began asking God if there was anyone there that I needed to pray for. There was an older woman sitting across from me, who had overheard Jon's mom telling us about what had happened, prior to her and Jon being able to go be with Stan. After they left, she came over and asked if he was going to be okay. She had been a caregiver for an Alzheimer's patient, so had an understanding of what we were dealing with. Although we chatted for a few minutes, I never really felt led to pray for her. When she was called back, another man sitting across from me struck up a conversation, but I didn't feel led to pray with him either. Perhaps because I found him a tad annoying.
Finally, about fifteen minutes or so before Jon came to get me to take me to his dad's room, I saw someone that I felt led to pray for. It was a mother and her teenage son. The son was in obvious pain and had tears rolling down his face. They had him sitting in a wheelchair and he was doubled over in pain. I had heard the check-in nurse tell him that he was breathing way too fast and he needed to work on slowing it down. After the check-in, they were sitting close to me and I overheard the mom trying to get her son to sit up and take slow breaths to get his breathing regulated. I went over and asked if I could pray for him and she said sure. During the prayer, the son was doubled over and crying and kept saying, "I'm so hot! I hurt so bad!" The mom was shushing him saying, "Shh... she's praying!" Honestly, I felt like my short little prayer kind of hit the ceiling and bounced back down, with no results. Shortly thereafter I heard him throwing up. There were a couple of young ladies who had overheard my interaction with the woman and her son and I thought, "Oh great! My prayer didn't do much!" But a few minutes later, the young man got up and sat down in the chair beside his mom and laid his head over onto her shoulder. His breathing began to regulate and he quietened and was more peaceful. His name was called right before I left and as they walked in front of me, the mom told me, "Thank you for the prayer. I think it really helped to calm him down." I obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and did good, even though these people were strangers to me and I will never know the outcome of that teenage boy's situation.
Doing good may not always be fun or convenient. At other times, it may not seem like a big deal to us, but to the person on the receiving end, it's a blessing. In fact, it is often the little acts of kindness that can mean the most.
Last week, Jon and I needed to stay overnight with his dad for three nights. We have a dog that needed care. I called my sister and she readily agreed to keep him as long as needed. For her, doing good meant taking care of a dog; even though she had previously committed to babysitting two little boys overnight those same nights, so already had her hands full. For us, not having to take care of and worry about a dog those nights was a huge relief and freed us up to do what was needed at the time.
Doing good should not be a drudgery or viewed as being a nuisance or a bother. We miss out on the blessing and purpose of doing good, if we have a martyr mentality and try to garner sympathy from others by telling them what we "had" to do for someone.... how it inconvenienced us....how they didn't even say thank you or acted appropriately appreciative. If we have a pity party during our acts of goodness, then that negates the blessing and we are doing it for the wrong reason.
If we're doing good for the right reasons, then we're not going to grow weary or get tired. When our heart is in the right place, we will see the blessing of doing good and seek opportunities to do so.
If we persevere and don't give up, when the time is right, we will reap a harvest of blessing. Perhaps that harvest will come when we need it the most. It may be when we go through a difficult time and need to be on the receiving end of others doing good and blessing us by their acts of love and kindness.
Life is filled with many highs and lows, times of blessing and times of hardships, as well as times of giving and times of receiving. May we obey the scriptures and do good, whenever opportunities are given to us and it's within our power to do so. When we do so, at the right time, we will reap the promised harvest of blessing.
Doing something good for someone actually works both ways.
If you go out of your way to make a nice dinner for someone, then drop it off for them, how would you feel if they look at it, and say, "Oh, well, that's nice and all, but I always do the cooking for my family, and we can manage on our own."?
So, sometimes the good deed you could do is simply responding well when someone else does a good deed for you. Please be gracious. Don't convince other people to stop trying to help.
I have seen this again and again with my parents in years past. They have always gone the extra mile to help others, because they like helping others. But whenever they are in need themselves, they want to be independent, and manage without help.
Independence is nice, and all. It's much better than people who prefer to live life needy rather than work or save. But if everyone is completely independent all the time, then there's no one we can help. And just because you live a lifestyle of independence doesn't mean you will never be in a situation where you could use a little help. So, even if you know you could manage without, let someone help you, too.
Triple Fudge Cake
1 large package chocolate pudding and pie mix
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Devil Food cake mix
1/2 cup nuts
Preheat oven to 350. In a large saucepan cook pudding as directed on box. Blend dry cake mix thoroughly into hot pudding for 1-2 minutes, using a mixer. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle top of batter with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
My great-niece, Jovie, loves to sing. Sometimes she gets the words a little wrong. Her parents recently realized that instead of singing the words, "Oh How I Love Jesus", she was singing, "Oh How I Love Cheese Cones"!
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King Jr.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon