Beyond Ourselves

July 2014: A Word From Dr. Stanley

I will always remember an experience I had in Hong Kong. On my way to take a tram ride up to Victoria Peak, I walked past a woman crouching in the shadow of a building. She was disheveled and dirty, but that wasn’t what struck me. There was something about her eyes; they were filled with emptiness, shame, and hopelessness. But I didn’t stop, and I didn’t give her a second thought—until I got home. That’s when I realized I’d missed an opportunity to help someone God had placed in my path.

Have you ever paused to notice the people around you? We’re all so busy with our own concerns that it’s easy to be unaware of the needs of others, including those close to us. This insensitivity could be an unconscious habit or even a deliberate choice. If we’re brutally honest, many of us would have to admit that we are willing to express Christ’s love to a hurting world only when it’s convenient or fits into our plans. Sometimes we don’t want to get involved because it will cost too much. Helping others takes time, demands emotional energy, and may even require a financial sacrifice.

We are visible, human channels here on earth, through whom He can pour out His love and care.

However, as Christians, we are called to follow Jesus’ example. He came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). He’s given us His Spirit so we can become visible, human channels here on earth, through whom He can pour out His love and care. Lonely, frustrated, anxious, and hurting people need to know there’s hope in Jesus. He is the only one who can fill their empty souls and give purpose to their lives.

Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan provides three simple steps to help us overcome our natural self-interest and become willing vessels of His mercy (Luke 10:30-37). First, we should focus on the people around us and ask the Lord to help us see beyond the superficial to discern their needs. Second, we need to seize these opportunities as divine appointments sent from God. And finally, we must share whatever we can to help meet that person’s need.

As we let God liberate us from self-centeredness, His compassion and love will flow through us into the lives of others.

Related Topics:  Service

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45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

30 Jesus replied and said, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'

36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands? "

37 And he said, The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, Go and do the same."

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