Today is my youngest daughter’s 6th birthday. Jocelyn is a precious little girl, and I’m thankful that God has blessed our family with such a treasure. Her name means “joyful spirit,” and anyone who knows Jocelyn would agree that she is full of joy! She loves to snuggle, dance, sing, play the piano, play My Little Ponies, and read the Bible. This devotion is dedicated to her. Happy birthday, Jocelyn Kate!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
My daughter, Jocelyn, hopped into the backseat of our car, all smiles. She had finished her second day of kindergarten and was excited to tell me about it. As soon as she buckled in, Jocelyn said, “Mommy, I sat by someone different today, a little boy named Kaden. He couldn’t get his snack open, so I helped him.” As she told me her story, I was the one grinning, proud of my daughter for acting just like Jesus.
Jocelyn made the choice to step outside of her comfort zone. Had she merely congregated with familiar friends, she would have missed the opportunity with Kaden. Once Jocelyn sat in the chair next to him, she put herself in a position to be used. She made herself available. When Kaden had trouble with his snack, Jocelyn saw his struggle. She became aware of his need. At that point, she had to make the decision to step in and help or ignore him.
As I drove away from the school, I thought about how my daughter’s experience perfectly illustrates ministry. If we want to impact our world for Jesus, we have to get close to the people around us. In other words, we can’t have influence on them if we don’t first have relationship with them.
Our tendency is to gravitate toward what’s easy and convenient. We like things the way they are and don’t want to venture out into the unknown. Yet, Jesus does not call us to a life of comfort and ease, nor does he want us to be so self-absorbed that we miss the people he wants us to reach.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself the same question I have been pondering: If the Lord prompts me to befriend a Kaden, am I willing to make the move? Or, am I too wrapped up in my own life to put forth the effort?
The Lord’s desire for us is to live a life of love, to be sensitive to the needs of others and do what we can to bless them. Let’s make a commitment to invest the time and energy into building relationships so we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. When we do, we will see the Lord’s power displayed and hearts changed – theirs and ours. Best of all, our great Teacher will take notice . . . and smile.