Small Gestures, Great Impact

Originally posted October 27, 2014

Mark 12:28-31One of the scribes asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”  Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

No one needed to teach us to love ourselves. We are born that way.  From birth, we are selfish.  Just look at kids playing. “This toy is mine!” “Me first!” “I want the bigger piece of pie!”  Even as adults, we want the best things for ourselves.  … I usually want the big piece of pie.

In Mark 12:31, Jesus affirms that we already love ourselves when He says, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  What He also does, is command us to love others in this same way.

Our flesh is selfish, craving to be fulfilled.  (In fact, if you rearrange the letter in SELFISH, you get FLESH IS) If we allow the Spirit to rule over the flesh, we can be the loving disciples Jesus calls us to be.

Have you ever given that choice parking space at the store, especially during the Christmas season, to another driver?   How about letting a car turn in front of you in heavy traffic?  Ever offered to help a stranger carry groceries to their car?  If you live or work in a city, have you ever purchased a sandwich, or a cup of coffee for someone asking for loose change on the street?

Hebrews 13:16 — Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

1 John 3:17 — But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

The look on the face of a stranger when you offer to help them, is priceless. It can make your day knowing you made someone else’s life easier, if only for the few moments you were in their presence.

Matthew 25:39-40 — When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

It is a sad statement about our world, that people are shocked when someone else offers assistance.  There was a time, not so long ago, when these gestures were much more commonplace.  If it was a common occurrence today, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

We, as Christians, cannot change how people act or think.  We can, however, be an example that may impact others. 

Matthew 5:16 — Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

In addition, think of the witness we can be for Jesus, if we tell people “I am doing this because it is what Jesus would do.  After all, He died for your sins and mine, this gesture I am making is nothing compared to that.”

Friend, I am not trying to lay a guilt trip on you.  In fact, I could and should display this type of generosity of spirit much more often than I do.  If only we wore our love for Jesus on our sleeves a bit more, perhaps those who do not know Him might be intrigued enough to listen to His gospel message.  After all, isn’t our goal to reach the whole world with His offer of salvation?

Numbers 6:24-26 — ‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’