I lost my Mom in 2016, very unexpectedly.
And as I write, I am sitting in the hospital room of my nine year old son, while he recovers from an emergency appendectomy.
Sometimes, I still wake up in the morning and think I should call her and go spend the day at her house like I used to. Then I remember she’s not there anymore.
Other times I get these random memories that come back like flashes. I had one of those this morning…
My Mom was a beautiful person. She was full of laughter and love the majority of the time. She was a caretaker. When I had cramps from basketball practice she would rub my legs until I fell asleep, and she ACTUALLY made being sick fun when I would come down with a bug!
Those are the kinds of memories I love to think about, but this memory wasn’t one of those…
My Mom also suffered from severe bouts of depression.
On this particular occasion she had gotten a job at a local diner. She was glad to be out of the house and earning a little extra income.
But when I came home from school that day, she was sitting at the kitchen table crying with a look of worry and hopelessness etched into her face.
Her new boss had made a comment, and I’m sure he didn’t intend to wound her to this extent, but the damage was done. She ended up never going back, and the event sent her into a depression that lasted weeks.
As I thought back on that day, I wished so badly that I could go back in time and talk to that person. I wanted to scream in their face, “Be nice to her! SHE’S GOING TO DIE ONE DAY!”
But I didn’t know how true that statement was the way I know it now. And as I longed to go back and make even one more day of her life better than it had been, my gaze shifted to my son lying in his hospital bed.
I can’t go back and dry my mother’s tears, but I can make his life better.
I wondered how many times I had declined his offer to play with him because I was too busy, or how many times I had told him to ‘shhh!’ because I was on the phone.
And what about the other people in my life?
How many times have I not picked up when someone I loved called because I was in the middle of binge watching the latest episode of my favorite Netflix series?
I mean, as Christians, aren’t we supposed to be the people known by our love?
Jesus said he came not to be served, but to serve others, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
Can I really say that’s how I live my life?
And if I struggle to serve the people I love, what does that say about how I treat perfect strangers?
Am I serving the attendant at the gas station just because I say, “God bless,” as I walk out the door to do important things? Is that what Jesus meant?
Am I serving the people struggling from a house fire at my church just because I put $5 in the special offering?
And the more I thought about it, the way I view serving and the way Jesus did serving didn’t look anything alike at all!
If I’m being honest, I spend the majority of my time serving the things that I think are important. My ministry, my writing, and myself. Only if there is time left over do I venture out of my comfort zone to enrich the lives of the people around me.
I don’t think these realizations are meant to condemn ourselves, and the bottom line is that we only have the resources that God gave us to make an impact on the people around us.
But I am blessed, because He did give me a mouth to ask the attendant at the gas station about her life and make her feel seen and heard.
God also gave me arms so that I can wrap them around the family at my church going through devastating loss, and He gave me hands to help them with cleaning, cooking, or praying.
He gave me legs so I can get out of my car and walk over to the homeless people at the intersection and love on them before I rush off to whatever errand that God gave me time to complete later.
Maybe there is not just something we can do, but a lot of things we can do to improve the lives of the people that God strategically set in our paths for this little 24 hour window we get to call our day. I don’t have to have thousands of dollars worth of donors to make huge gestures.
And guess what? Jesus didn’t either!
And we might not think we have the resources we would like to reach people, but think about this: Twelve dudes from the streets of Jerusalem who had nothing but the clothes on their backs set the world on fire for a Savior!
At the end of the day, we have everything we need to be a servant to every single person that God gives us.
Christ gave His life for you and me, and if there is anything worth being known for in my book, it would be for people to say, “Wow! She really lived like Jesus! She gave of her time, her resources, and her heart. She held nothing back if it was going to help someone.”
And if there is anything more I could ask for besides spending eternity with Jesus, it would be to take as many people with me as possible.
So I want to start treating everyone like they are going to die one day, because they are.
And every moment we get with them is an opportunity to show them the love of Christ. It is the gift that we get. Let’s use it!
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