“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…”
“Remind them again, that how they treat one another is how they treat Me,” God whispered as I was drying my hair. I turned off the blow dryer.
“That’s a scary thought because we so often don’t treat each other very nicely,” I said. “How shall I remind them?”
“My Son already did. You can quote Him,” God suggested.
Here are His words for you to ponder: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
How you treat other people, or how you feel about them in your heart, is a reflection of how you feel about and treat God. You can’t hate or fear others if you truly love God and His creation.
“But the greatest of these is love.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
“Make a list of the things you love,” God encouraged me when I woke up this morning. I spent the morning thinking about all the things that spark joy in my life. I thought about my four children, my granddaughter, and my friends. I thought about my parents and my sister and her family. There’s my garden, and my cat and dog. One by one, I went down the list and shared them with God. “You’re not done,” He said gently.
In the afternoon, added more to my list of things that I love. I told them to God. God said, “You’re still not done.” For the rest of the day, I thought some more. As I was headed to bed, I told God, even more things that I love. I felt as if I had exhausted everything that makes my heart happy. As I pulled up the covers before I turned out the light, God whispered, “What about yourself?” I had not once thought about the love I have for myself.
That’s what God wants us to remember. We are to love others, yes, but we are to love ourselves. We are to be kind and gentle with ourselves. We are to take good care of ourselves. The greatest commandment is to love. Stop beating yourself up. Stop expecting perfection. Stop seeing “beauty flaws.” See God’s Spirit inside of you. Love yourself.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him, so that you
may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I can’t remember who taught me how to ride a bicycle. I do remember the dirt lane that I tried to navigate and the big pine tree that I crashed into. I recall the bike wobbling side to side as I desperately tried to keep my balance. It took me quite a few attempts and quite a few falls before I could ride comfortably. But once I learned, there was no stopping me. I rode my bike everywhere. (It was great being a kid in the ’60’s. So much freedom!)
This morning I felt like a part of my life was wobbling side to side and that soon, I’d cash into something. I snapped Shakespeare’s leash to his harness and off we went for a walk. That’s always a good remedy for when I’m stressed out. It didn’t take long until I felt God’s hand on my shoulder. “You’re worried,” He said.
“I’ve got this really big responsibility on my shoulders and I’m not sure I am up for it,” I said. “I’ll feel like an idiot if I make a mistake.”
“If you knew that your big responsibility was part of the plan I had for you, would you feel differently about it?” God asked.
“I’d feel even more stressed! I’d want to be perfect for you!” The minute the words left my mouth I knew how silly they were. I know God doesn’t expect me to be perfect.
“What if I run along beside you, and I guide you, Would you feel better?”
“Would you do that for me?”
“Of course! God said.
I knew that much like learning to ride my bike, I’ll learn how to navigate this big responsibility if God runs along beside me. I may crash from time to time, but once I learn, there will be no stopping me. Wait. Correct that. There will be no stopping us. Once I learn, I’ll be peddling but God will be riding on the handlebars, pointing the way.
“You’ve got this!” God said, and patted me on my back. I grinned from ear to ear.
“Thanks!” I said, and turned towards home.
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
I stopped into a cafe to get out of the pouring rain. I ordered a cup of coffee and was shocked to hear the price. “Why is your coffee so expensive?” I asked.
“You aren’t paying only for the coffee. You are paying for the fine china it’s served in and the ambiance,” the cashier said as he waved his hand to show me the beauty of the cafe. I paid for my coffee and sat down and pondered his words.
How often am I paying attention to only one small part of God’s creation and not seeing it in the context of the whole? I give thanks for the food I eat, yet I seldom give thanks for the people who plant and harvest it. I don’t give thanks for the favorable weather that allowed the crops to grow. Nor do I give thanks for the insects that pollinate or ward off other insects that may want to eat the crops. I don’t give thanks for the microbes in the soil, or the air, or any of the myriad of things that go into the production of my food. In other words, I rarely see the full picture of the abundance and blessings of God.
When I think of all that goes into the production of my food, I am reminded of how intricately interwoven our lives are. What is affecting you today will somehow affect me, even if we are worlds apart. That commandment of Jesus’ to love one another was a way to ensure that we all have good lives, not just some of us. I sipped the last of my coffee and went back out into the storm. I had a new appreciation for humanity. It’s not “every man for himself.” It’s every man is me.”
“…a time to be born and a time to die…”
Today’s Soul Reminder comes from a quote I read and felt strongly about sharing with you.
“You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.
But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realizing this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude. Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.”
— Jeff Foster