If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Philippians 2:1-4 (The Message)
I’ll never forget the flight from LAX to DFW when I sat next to a mom and her young son named Jack. It wasn’t the “relax and prepare for my conference” flight I had hoped for. Rather, it was punctuated by a toddler’s kicks and shrieks and invading my personal space. But God touched my heart and asked me to exchange my frustration for the opportunity to be the blessing.
Be the answer to my prayer for kindness. Be the one who sees a stranger through God’s eyes of love and compassion instead of my own judgment and inconvenience. It was only Jesus in me that prompted me to get off the high horse of my own annoyance and pause in prayer for this struggling mama-son pair. I’m so grateful the Lord gave His Spirit to whisper to mine.
But it’s not enough just to hear. Our faith grows legs for change when we turn that hearing into doing.
The small shift from self-focused to others-focused, from perception to action, is the beginning of the simple difference.
Through the gift of flying next to Jack and his mom, I saw with fresh eyes how our lives are made up of millions of moments stitched together with countless opportunities to decide what kind of mark we’re going to leave.
At the airport, dry cleaners, doctor’s office, or school pickup; where you worship, work, walk, and shop; when you’re coming and going, when you’re waiting and complaining; whether you’re dancing in the rain or limping through the desert, on a dusty country road or a slick city street — in all places at all times, you and I have a choice: What kind of difference are we going to make?
Are we going to go through life on the autopilot of our own convenience and personal preference? Or will we learn to live with eyes wide open to the individual beauty and needs of the people around us? Are we willing to make our daily errands and agendas an ongoing opportunity to live soft and surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s leading?
This isn’t about totally changing the course of our lives; it’s about letting God change us and work through us in the very midst of our ordinary days. To say, As I go on my way, Lord, have Your way with me.
TODAY: Look for an opportunity to be the blessing in someone’s day.
This article was written by Becky Keife and adapted from her (in)courage book, The Simple Difference.
Today on the podcast — a bonus episode! Listen in as Bonnie Gray reads her chapter, titled How to Deal With Toxic People, from our newest book, Come Sit With Me. Listen at the player below, or wherever you stream podcasts.
Ruth Mills says
Oh Becky, you have stepped on my toes this AM. Technically I have done all & more in my job to get a form required for a client. Asking the client to help themselves by getting the required signature resulted in them telling me to do what I’ve repeatedly done. Stubborn me wants to dig in my heels & say no it’s your turn. But really how hard is it for me to send 1 more fax? 1 more fax to bless this client rather than being the judge of what appears to be their laziness. You chose to see & be the blessing. I can chose to put my technical rightness away & be a blessing to this client. I will be sending a fax shortly. Thanks for the push! Blessings! (((0)))
Becky Keife says
Ruth, I’m so glad this was meaningful to you! (God steps on my toes all the time!) lol. But I’ve never regretted following His lead and choosing to be the blessing. After all, oh how He has blessed me with His unending love and grace!
Becky Keife says
Thanks for reading, Susen! So grateful this resonates with you.
Ariel Krienke says
Such an important message. I went through this whole process with my toxic family. My earthly father is a pastor as well so the family took me further from the real love God had for us. I’ve gone through spiritual and emotional abuse. I’ve healed and know how to have healthy relationships because the Lord God showed me the way. Boundaries by Drs Townsend and Cloud helped me so greatly and by practicing those lessons I have healthy relationships with boundaries and I now know that confrontation is inevitable but we must handle it in a positive way. Those who avoid confrontation often become toxic. I’ve tried to reconcile with my family and sent them biblical books explaining how I feel and why it is the right thing according to God but they just keep saying I need to come back to the family. But I need to rebuild trust. I don’t trust them not to abuse me again. I hope and pray they will let God change their hearts some day. Anyway thank you for teaching others about this important topic. It’s important to get out there. I believe everyone should read that book Boundaries and put it into practice. People around us here avoid confrontation and put down those of us who use healthy talking techniques. Hopefully we can either move someday or people’s hearts get touched. I could use prayers. Anyway thank you for the encouragement. Sadly I know too many of us out there have gone and are going through this. I see it way prevalent in the culture today. But God is good and if it hadn’t happened to me, I may not have had the close loving relationship with PaPa God that I have now. I wouldn’t trade that.
Beth Williams says
God is always giving us ways to be a blessing to others. A few minutes ago I called my MIL & checked on how she is doing. She will be 88 next month & has several health issues. I know it blessed her to hear from me & it didn’t take long. Tomorrow I may call a few friends I know who are widows. Just to say hello & listen to them. At work (hospital ICU clerical) I pray for my co-workers, patients & families. I have been in their shoes waiting to hear how the patient is doing & what the next steps are in healing. Often I will offer to get the family something to drink or if they or patient needs anything. Putting away my needs for a minute to help someone else. It’s the simple, small things in life that can make a big impact. It helps shed God’s light & love in this world.
Each Friday I volunteer at Loaves & Fishes Food bank. Usually bring in some boxes & then help out with whatever they need. Our clients are grateful for the food we give them. It helps me to be more others focused.