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You have a role to play in the stories of other people

July 20, 2021

I think in a lot of ways this pandemic lulled some of us into complacency. The introverts of the world rejoiced over the thought of never leaving the house again to go to another social gathering. 

But just because you cannot gather and meet in the way you’re used to doesn’t mean you get a pass on your relationships

That’s hard to hear. It’s hard, in the midst of chaos, to look outside ourselves and ask harder questions: how do I need to show up for people? Who needs me to show up for them? What words of encouragement can I give to someone else today? Who needs a cheerleader and how can I be that cheerleader?

We are crazy to think we can actually keep moving forward without the help of one another. 

Someone reading this is spending way too much time waiting for God to whack them on the head with a “grander mission/calling” , that they’ve neglected to see the sacred work of “right here, right now” that needs tending to.

The people in your life are your grander mission.

That annoying family member is your grander mission. 

Your friend who sometimes makes you want to go outside and scream is your grander mission. 

That crying child who is refusing to nap is your grander mission.

Your neighbours – the ones you know and the ones you don’t yet know to call them neighbors, they are your grander mission. 

If  you look to Jesus as your example, your standard for the life you’re living, then your bigger, grander mission will always be others. On repeat. Even when you don’t feel like it. Jesus was a man who cleared his calendar at a moment’s notice if it meant making someone else feel seen and known.

You have a role to play in the stories of other people.

Think about the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. If you need a sum-up of the story: a man gets beat up and robbed on the roadside one day and he is in need of help. Two men pass him by, one after the other, but don’t stop to help him. This is surprising since the two men would be expected- based on their piety and occupations- to stop and be of service. 

Finally, a third man walks by but does not pass the man by. He stops. He feels compassion. He uses that compassion to propel him into action. He gives him first aid and bandages his wounds. He lifts him onto his donkey and leads him to an inn. There, he pays for the man’s stay and even tells the innkeeper, “put all the expenses on my bill and take good care of him.” 

We water down this story. We make it seem as though the man simply stopped for the man to check on him and then went along with his day. This man stopped and allowed for his entire day to be hijacked and interrupted by the needs of someone else. This man, who was likely busy and important, cleared out the schedule to tend to this man – to go the extra mile for him.

How are you going the extra mile for others in your life right now?

Who are you being the biggest, loudest cheerleader in the room for right now? 

Whose name do you have set up as a reminder in your calendar – a nearly constant reminder to call them, check in, and see how they’re doing?

You might not be able to answer all these questions. It might sting a bit. And friend,  I’m asking these questions of my own self. 

I’m nowhere near perfect when it comes to counting others as more important than myself. 

But do I want to get there? Yes, absolutely. 

And so I keep asking the hard questions and I keep allowing those hard questions to propel me towards action.

Loving your neighbour is an action, it is not a thought or a prayer.

Being a cheerleader for someone else is an action, it is not a passive calling. 

You have a role to play in the stories of other people.

If you don’t like how you’re showing up for others then there is good news for you: there is always today.  There is always the next 5 minutes. There is always right now. 

What are you waiting for?

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. - John 13:34

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