I took my own advice today. I had posted about taking a few minutes to talk to someone who was feeling down.
For me, it was a co-worker, I’ll call Alice.
Ever since I joined the team I currently work on, Alice has pretty well kept to herself. She has a great sense of humor and a bigger than anything smile, but she just seems to prefer staying in her shell most of the time.
The best part of what happened today was that it was straight out of the blue.
We were having a conversation about work in IM and, when there was a break, I just typed a few lines telling her how much I appreciated having her on the team and how I enjoy working with her.
What I said was absolutely true. I would never lie to a person for the sole purpose of making them feel good, nor would I advocate doing that.
Her first question: “Where did that come from?”
My answer: “From the heart.”
She thought I was being a smart alec – a wise cracker. But I wasn’t and I told her so. I emphasized some of the things I’ve seen her do for others around the office, and told her I liked the fact that she cares so much about other people. I told her that her actions spoke volumes about her intuitive caring nature, and pointed out how nice she's always been to me.
Then she surprised me. She said, “What comes around goes around. It’s easy to be nice to you because you’re nice.”
I have to say, this is a conversation I’ll remember for a long, long time. I couldn't get the smile off my face for the rest of the day.
Serving others isn’t always easy – and it's rarely convenient as one good woman posted in the comments section of my blog. She’s right. Many times we have to step out of our comfort zones in order to help someone else. This is especially true if we don’t know or like or get along with the person we’re serving.
Think about it. How easy is it to stop and chat with a homeless person? How do you feel about someone who appears outwardly hostile towards mankind? What’s your reaction to someone who sits next to you in church or a professional setting and they smell of alcohol, cigarettes or it smells like they need a shower?
How easy is it to step outside our safety circle and – literally or figuratively – embrace that person?
What if at worship services they don’t know the hymns or when to say “Amen”? What if they sing off key?
What if they’re a sinner?
These are things each of us struggle with (or have struggled with) from time to time). None of us is perfect, but the beauty of service to others is that neither the served nor the one being served needs to be perfect in order for simple service to be effective and appreciated.
You don’t have to be perfect to serve someone else.
You don’t have to be perfect to allow yourself to be served.
So, my challenge today, Thursday, September 25th is this –
Serve a stranger. Do it, even if it makes you a bit uncomfortable.
God has made the rain fall on both you and the one you need to serve today. But He’s made the sun come out and shine on you both as well. He is no respecter of persons. Yeah, I know – He’s God of the Universe, and He has the ability to look past imperfections.
I’ll let you in on a secret. If you can try, with a prayer in your heart, you can, too.
Just try. That’s all anyone can expect. Don’t be perfect.
And, as always, I’m asking you to pass it on.