Then I had the flu and found myself in the sickbed for over a week. Finally, the chest congestion drained, the ears stopped aching, and the nose could suddenly breathe again, so after one more day of recovery, I took Chloe on another walk. As I came around the blueberries I saw it again, still hanging on in spite of the now cooler temperatures--and once again I smiled.
I wonder if we aren’t supposed to be like that lone little daisy out in the world. Do we make anyone smile? Or are we just like everyone else, hurrying along, consumed with ourselves and our business, impatient, or even angry, with the ones who get in our way and slow us down? We have an obligation to others we pass along the way.
You shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again. Deuteronomy 22:4
That one is pretty easy, we say. Who wouldn’t stop for a brother on the side of the road whose donkey (or car) was broken down? Keith stood by the side of the road next to a disabled car one night, and watched brother after brother pass him on the way to the gospel meeting that was being held just a mile or two down the highway, so don’t be too sure of yourself.
Yet the law also says this: "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him, Exodus 23:4-5. How many of us feel any obligation at all to bear the burden of an enemy, or just a stranger?
Let’s not make it one of those situations where we excuse ourselves by talking about crime and good sense. How about this? Did you make the cashier’s day a little brighter or a little tougher when you went through the line this morning? Did you stop and help the harried young mother who dropped her grocery list and sent coupons scattering across the aisle, or did you sigh loudly at the inconvenience of her, her cart, and her three rowdy children because you were in a hurry to get home? Did you make small talk with the waitress who poured your coffee, or did you treat her like a piece of furniture? Did you slow down and make room for the car that cut you off in traffic, or did you talk and gesticulate and lay on the horn long enough for someone to think we were in an air raid? Did you make anyone smile this morning?
At my first defense, no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me, Paul said in 2 Tim 4:16. Nearly impossible to imagine, isn’t it? Yet the night before Keith was scheduled to testify in a trial where we knew the only defense was to try to discredit him, a brother decided he needed to call him up and castigate him for an imagined slight, something that he had simply misunderstood. When all we can think about is ourselves instead of bearing one another’s burdens, Gal 6:2, instead of helping the weak, 1 Thes 5:14, instead of comforting one another, 2 Cor 1:4, that’s exactly what happens.
Yes, we get comfort from God, but guess how that often happens? But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 2 Corinthians 7:6. We are the comfort that God gives. We are the help that He provides. It’s up to us to pay attention and think of someone besides ourselves.
Today, be a January daisy, something lovely and unexpected in the life of someone who needs it, whether a brother, or an enemy, or just a stranger. Make someone smile.
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25
I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus… for they refreshed my spirit... 1 Corinthians 16:17-18