Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I used to be like most people in the check-out line, waiting impatiently for the checker to scan my items and bag them so I could be on my way. Then, one day a few years ago, I actually stopped long enough to look at the person scanning my groceries…really look at them. And what I saw was a tired, sullen lady, mechanically scanning my items without even looking up. Instantly, I felt a check in my spirit—you know the one—the sweet prompting from the Holy Spirit to reach out.

So, I simply asked, “How is your day going?”

With the look she gave me, you would have thought those 5 words were, “You’ve just won the lottery.” She literally stopped scanning, looked up, and gave me the biggest smile.

“Thank you so much for asking!” She replied. Then, she went on to share with me all about her day. Her whole demeanor had changed! I helped bag my groceries, wished her a wonderful day, and left the store in shock at what one simple question could do.

Since that day, I’ve made it a point to ask that same question as often as I can. At the gas station, the drive-thru, the post office…and every time I ask it, I’m blown away at the wide-open door that results from taking a moment to simply care.

My friends, isn’t that what walking the walk is? It’s caring for others as we care for ourselves. It’s taking the mundane moments and turning them into opportunities to bless others—even if it’s only with a question!

So, here is the challenge. Begin asking God for opportunities to bless people. Ask Him to lift your impatience long enough to look someone in the eye and ask how they are. Ask the Lord for a listening ear—not a half-listening ear, glued to your smartphone—a genuine, tuned-in ear that really cares.

You may not realize this, but our ministry at Christians Care International is full of asking. We ask God for divine direction. We ask our faithful donors for support. We ask our suffering Jewish brothers and sisters how we can best help them. Asking is such a big part of what we do! 

This passage in Matthew 7 describes it best…

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

You know, most children in elementary school learn the Golden Rule and can recite it by heart. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But let us not merely recite these words, my friends. Let’s look at others beyond the surface of the check-out counter. Let’s ask ourselves how we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. Then, let’s take that opportunity to connect.

I’m truly grateful for that day in the check-out line several years ago. I sometimes wonder how many times God tried to wake me up to the needs of others, but I was too preoccupied to listen. However, it is never too late to start caring. Ask God for that check in your spirit, prompted by His Spirit, to notice someone in need. Then, simply ask, “How is your day going?”

Walking the walk with all of you,

Jennifer Waddle, CCI Ministry Development Team

Remember The Joy?

“As soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”  (Luke 1:44)

I still remember the big, white bus that came through our neighborhoods, picking kids up for the Wednesday night service at a church across town. I also remember the one and only time I rode that bus with my two-year-old brother at my side. I was terrified!

The leaders in the front of the bus sang, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,” while I clung to my little brother, fearful of the unknown. Once we got to the church, they separated us, whisking my brother away to the preschool room while I was taken to the first-grade class. I cried. Needless to say, we never rode the Joy Bus again!

A dozen years later, as I came up out of the baptismal water, having met my Savior, I finally knew what it meant to have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…a joy that was there to stay.

Luke chapter one records the indescribable joy that caused an unborn babe to leap in his mother’s womb. That same joy, from the Holy Spirit, would carry John the Baptist through a life of all-out commitment to the Lord. There is, perhaps, no better example of a person walking the walk of missional living. Through hot desert days and cold desert nights, with cries in the wilderness, John preached the message of the kingdom of God.

I can only imagine the isolation he must have felt, as he spoke about a foreign gospel, introduced the baptism of repentance, and set himself apart to prepare the way for the Messiah. Ridicule and mockery must have been his lifelong companions, as he walked the walk of devotion to Christ. For John, there were no seasons of laid-back complacency. To him, joy was the fuel for his mission.

Do you remember the joy?

For each believer, joy resides deep within, not as a superficial happiness mustered up by a positive outlook, but by the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It supersedes the “stuff” of life, the ups and downs, and rollercoaster rides of circumstance.

Think about it for a moment. John hadn’t even taken his first breath, when he was moved with joy by the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb. From the very beginning, joy propelled John into a wholly-devoted life for the sake of Christ!

In reflection of John’s testimony, I have to ask. Where is the joy that once inspired us to leap in whole-hearted devotion to God? I’m contemplating the same question, as I sense the ever-growing tide of complacency rising to untold heights.

It’s everywhere…this lack of urgency, lack of compassion, lack of…joy. I’m afraid we’ve lost the conviction that once made us leap in response to God’s Spirit. The joy that used to motivate us has faded into the background of a distant calling. 

And yet, there is hope. 

There is hope in Paul’s words to the Philippians, when he said, “I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

I am sure of this!

I am sure that we can move forward in the mission of CCI, no matter what wilderness lies ahead. Together, we can remember the joy that first called us. And in that joy, of wholehearted devotion to God, we can walk the walk in leaps and bounds.