C is for Care
I was given the word CARE this morning in my devotional time.
My reading began in the Book of Ruth. Do you know the story of Naomi & Ruth?
I claimed the verses in Chapter 1:16 – 17 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” when Ron told me in February 1989 that he wanted to move our whole family to Blaine, WA. You see I had always told Ron that I would not 1) move to Blaine, 2) live with his mother, 3) go to Birch Bay Bible Mennonite Church, or 4) move onto the farm where he was born and raised**. But I knew that Ron cared for me and wanted only the best for me and our children and so I claimed this verse to help me with the move and to keep my focus on how and what the Lord wanted me to do. And you know what…God and Ron has never let me down…they both have taken such great care of me. Yes we have faced many hard times but through it all I know Ron cares for me, loves me and will always provide for me. All because he cares about and for me (and our children, their spouses and their children).
I reflected on how Ruth put her trust in God and she was not afraid to take action by standing firm in her faith. Ruth was willing to take a risk in order to see the fulfillment of God’s purpose for her life. Faith trusts but it also acts. Sometimes we struggle to know if God is working in our lives especially when we are facing uncertainties or the unknown. In the Book of Ruth we can see how God worked in Ruth & Naomi’s lives as they faced many difficulties and hardships.
Care also came up in a conversation I was having with Pastor Charles via email the other day. It started with me saying I needed to go and clean the lower restrooms here at the campground which is not my favorite job at all. He reminded me that Jesus cleaned the feet of the poorest people and even those that would eventually betray him and that I should think about cleaning the bathrooms with a servant’s heart. So as I cleaned the bathrooms on Monday I decided that I could clean like they (the bathrooms) would be used by a King and that I could pray for those who would come in and use the restrooms after they were cleaned. I could take care and do a great job of cleaning and not do it haphazardly. One thing the Book of Ruth shows us is that the most ordinary acts of obedience and stepping out in faith can lead to extraordinary results. And so I did just that ~ I prayed for the guests in our campground and for future guests that will be using the restrooms and I found myself singing
And it made the whole job of cleaning the bathrooms not so bad after all!
And then I thought of the following verses:
I Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. And then I found this cartoon and it made me smile as I pictured Jesus actually carrying all my cares and lessening my burdens.
I know God cares about me, I know Ron loves and cares about me as do many other friends and family and I am so thankful for each of them.
And then I began to think about how I care for others.
I pray for people, send cards to people, try to make treats or gifts for those in need and do nice things for others and I realized I do the things for others that I enjoy others doing for me. And then I realized that often in the past I have done things for others just so they would like or love me and do things for me. I asked the Lord to forgive me for doing things with a selfish expectation of what could others do for me. I decided to do one thing each day for 30 days just because with no expectations and you know what? I realized that I just love to do acts of kindness just because and to bless others as so many have blessed me.
Let me ask you ~ do you do things for others because you want something in return or do you do them just because and to share God’s love and care with others?
One of the tools I am using to care for others is to ask God to bring people to mind and I write their names on my daily calendar. I do this so I can pray for them and sometimes send a card or make a phone call or drop them an email to let them know I was thinking of them. Sometimes I do things anonymously ~ it is fun to watch someone be blessed and not know who is blessing them or hear about it later from them and they not know I was the one who did XYZ.
Try it sometime, a random act of kindness to a friend or a stranger and be blessed for blessing someone just as God blesses us unexpectedly.
**If you are wondering we did move to Blaine, WA, we lived with Ron’s mom for four months, we went to the Birch Bay Bible Mennonite Church for a total of six years and we lived at the home place for seven years!! I have learned never to say never :)**