And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them… Ruth 2:16
I love surprises—the good kind. And, actually, the difficult ones make us dependent on the Lord and add spice to our days. Today I had a good surprise. The mailman left a package on my front step, something I hadn’t ordered. I brought it inside and discovered that my daughter had sent me a little gift. It was a surprise for no reason at all other than our mutual love.
Have you ever had those surprises, handfuls on purpose, dropped in your path by the Lord just because he loves you? A card comes from a friend you’ve longed to see. You experience unusual courtesy in your routine of daily errands. Someone thanks you for a past kindness during a difficult time. You find something you thought you’d lost. In your devotional reading a word or phrase says exactly what you need…
We can overlook and be blind to these small things or we can open our eyes each morning in anticipation of the “handfuls of purpose” that God drops on our paths. It’s quite lovely to discover little tokens of good that remind us of his love and special care—as if we were his only children.
And think of the joy we can bring to someone else by scattering little handfuls of purpose along his or her way. Little unexpected gestures of kindness and love. Signs of our love and God’s.
Father, open our eyes to see you before, behind, and around us blessing and loving us. Help us to be generous in sharing our tokens of love that others may see and know the love of our Father who is in heaven. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:12 (NIV)
The Children of Israel had their fair share of battles (many of them self-initiated), but as they passed through the wilderness, they encountered the fierce Amalekites. The enemy was engaged, and, as Moses stood on the mountainside overlooking the battle, he discovered that as long as he held up his hands, the Israelites prevailed. But after standing a long time, he grew weary, and his arms began to sag. That’s when his helpers, Aaron and Hur, stepped in, brought a stone for him to sit on, and held up his hands. The Israelites won the battle.
We all need those Aarons and Hurs in our lives, those people who love us enough to hold our hands when we’re weary from the conflicts in our lives. They are already there if we’ll only open our eyes. God noted from the very beginning that it’s not good for us to be alone—that we need helpers (Gen. 2:18). But in our individualized culture, we’re taught from birth that we must be self-reliant, and we begin to feel guilty when we reach out for help.
We build walls around ourselves, and our pride (We call it independence.) blinds us to the caring that waits to be accessed. We say that we don’t want to be a bother to anyone when, in truth, we are all interdependent. “No man is an island, entire of itself.” (Donne)
Let down the barriers. It won’t be long until you’ll have the opportunity to be the help someone else needs.
Father, you told us to bear one another’s burdens. We forget that our brothers and sisters are there for us when we need them. Give us courage to allow you to help us through them. In Jesus our Lord. AMEN.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3 (KJV)
Winston Churchill said that if two people agree on everything, one of them isn’t thinking. On the other hand, Ruth Graham loved to quote Dale Carnegie who said, “When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.” If that’s the case in our current environment, we must be doing a lot of thinking and needing each other because there seems to be very little agreement on anything. However, only a blind and deaf person would say that’s true today.
How can we possibly walk (or live) together without unity? Paul tells us that we should do all we can to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). He doesn’t suggest that we compromise our beliefs but that we should be agreeable with all people. We can determine that we will agree to disagree (if it’s possible). We’re told to “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; … they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone…” (II Timothy 2:23). God holds his children to a higher standard.
Is it necessary to be right in a discussion or to win an argument? “…love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…” (I Corinthians 13:4, 5). What difference does it make if our viewpoint isn’t praised? If we’re not recognized as having Solomon-like wisdom? The highest law is that of love, and love doesn’t fail.
Let us put aside our petty disagreements and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us. Let’s put aside our ego-centrism so that we start putting God and others first. This world would be a much more pleasant place, and I’m certain the Lord would be pleased.
Father, the rancor is getting out of hand. Convict us to love and care for each other just as you love us—unconditionally and despite all our flaws. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.