Yesterday, I was at Target and I took a short-cut through the women’s pajama section. I casually overheard a nice looking senior gentleman ask an associate if this was all of the women’s pajamas. I didn’t think much of the question, but her response caught my attention. He asked a simple question, and she responded, “Yes, this is it…you’re on your own.” He obviously was out of place in this area of the store!
I paused and asked him, “Can I help you find something?” He explained that his wife was recovering from hip surgery, and she needed pajamas. Their travel here for surgery was an emergency trip, and they lived in a town more than two hours away. I spent a few minutes looking at pajamas with him, and we found something that would work well. He smiled, gave me a hug, and thanked me. I mentioned that I helped “with the love of Jesus.” He nodded, seeming to understand, and went his way encouraged that he had what his wife needed. I went on my way with joy and energy. It was satisfying to be helpful and show love!
Everyday moments become opportunities to love when we remember these three components:
SEE. Be aware of the people around us and pay attention. Our focus should go beyond ourselves and our interests. We will be open to seeing and noticing others when we’re present in the moment.
COMPASSION. Let our hearts be moved to care! Remember our desire to love other people. Compassion provides motive and purpose to not only notice, but to move into the next step.
ACTION. Engage in a way that fits the person and the situation. This doesn’t have to be something big; even small things like saying “hi” can really matter. Taking action can be anything others would benefit from. For example, it could include talking, listening, helping, or giving.
Jesus lived out “Love = See + Compassion + Action” in the Gospels. As he saw people and felt compassion, he talked to people, fed them, healed them, and raised a widow’s son from the dead (Mark 6:34-42, Matthew 14:14, and Luke 7:12-14). His parables also express this pattern. When the father saw his prodigal son returning, he had compassion and then ran, embraced and kissed him, and had a meal prepared to celebrate his return (Luke 15:20). The Good Samaritan saw the robbed and injured man, had compassion, and then went near, cared for his wounds, brought him to an inn, cared for him, and paid for his continued care (Luke 10:33-35).
The hard part of this is that it requires something of us. We must give of our energy, time, and resources. We need to share our lives with others. Stepping out with love requires some courage and risk as we move beyond our familiar routines. Maybe we’ll be rejected, be uncomfortable, or find out the other person wants more than we can give.
As we follow Jesus, he is our help to live out courageous love. His love moved him to compassion to engage with all sorts of people. He willingly took action to meet the needs of others. But Jesus chose what he said “yes” to and “no” to rather than being controlled by their wishes. Living this way gives us great joy and is rewarding. It’s one way we can:
“… walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2, NIV).
Look for opportunities to see, have compassion, and creatively respond to people this week! Would you share how you did this below, to encourage the rest of us?
Kathryn Featherstone is a certified Christian Life Coach by the Board of Christian Life Coaches. She is trained by Gallup for coaching with CliftonStrengths assessment and resources. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or visit her Coaching page.