Encouragement for Today - October 4, 2005



Encouragement for Today

(Principle #7)



Luann Prater, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:

Matthew 25:45, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”  (NIV)



Pulling into the parking lot, I noticed an elderly woman walking with a cane getting out of her car.  She had chosen not to park in the handicap spot, but instead left that for someone in greater need.  I slowed down as I approached because her feeble legs just couldn’t sprint across the pavement, as I’m sure they once did.  Slowly and methodically, she placed the cane one step ahead of her as she shuffled in front of me.  Her fluffy white hair reminded me of my own mom and I smiled patiently waiting for her to pass by.


Suddenly a car sped up behind her, slammed on their brakes, and wildly began blasting the horn. 

A red-faced woman was about to explode in the sleek silver Honda.  Luckily, it was a hot day, so her windows were up, the air conditioning was blowing her stiff locks and we were all spared from hearing the obvious obscenities she was spouting at this poor grandmother who was now close to a cardiac arrest.  Try as she might, her body just wouldn’t move any faster.  Without mercy, the red-faced maniac continued to lay on her horn and jut forward as if she was considering running her down.  I was horrified!  As she lifted her frail foot to the sidewalk, this hot-tempered Honda squealed right into the space marked “Handicapped.”  She slipped her handicap sign onto her rearview mirror, jumped out of the car and leaped into the nail salon five steps away.


We all have disabilities; some are just more visible than others.  This red-faced woman had a disabled heart.  She couldn’t see past her own wants, needs and desires.  She is an extreme example of each one of us – looking past the needs of others and focusing on our own little world.  There are hurting people all around us that God is expecting us to see and, yet, we pass them by.  Maybe we don’t run them over, but we try hard not to notice them. 


It is so inconvenient to care.  Oh, we care about our family or our friends or our church, but what about that neighbor who just keeps to themselves, or that irritating child who is left alone after school?  Look around – people around you are hurting.  Zig Ziglar says, “Pretend everyone you meet is wearing a sign around their neck that says, ‘I’m hurting,’ and nine times out of ten, you’ll be right.”  We live in a fallen world full of “the least of these.” 


Even the red-faced maniac was hurting.  You can’t act that nasty without having a deep hurt somewhere inside.  When you know the Savior, you have a healing balm that binds the wounds of this world.  Will you reach out to someone in need today?  Or are you just too busy to see the “least of these?”


My Prayer for Today:

Lord, we live in a fallen world with so many hurting hearts.  You have appointed one of those hearts to me today; help me to see them.  Give me words that care, hands that share, and shoulders to help bear the burdens of those around me.  Teach me that this day is not about me, it is about You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps: 

Read Matthew 25:31-46.


Begin your day in prayer, asking that God reveal a special hurting heart to you today.


Pay attention!  God is working all around us.  Allow Him to work through you today by seeing the opportunity He gives you.


Reflection Points:         


Why is your life so busy?


What is one thing you can cut out of your agenda today?


How can I notice others’ needs more clearly?


If I don’t have time to do it right today, when will I have time to do it again?


Power Verses: 

Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves. (NIV)


1 Corinthians 13:5, “(Love) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…. “(NIV)


James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  (NIV)



Additional Resources:

The Art of Helping, by Lauren Littauer Briggs



At Home with God, by Sharon Jaynes



Message of the Month Club



Originally published Tuesday, 04 October 2005.