Tuesday, October 4, 2016

For It is In Giving That We Receive

I was thinking today about the story of the rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31) Lazarus lay at the rich man's gate covered with sores and starving. When I picture this poor, sick man in my head, it's easy to convince myself that I would never have ignored the needs of Lazarus. I would never be like the rich man "feasting sumptuously every day" while a poor man suffers to death right outside my house.

In reality, I certainly have plenty of failed opportunities when it comes being Jesus' hands and feet  to the people in my little world!

There is always a 'Lazarus' that God places in our lives. (Sometimes several at one time!) Anyone in need that God puts on our hearts to help is a Lazarus.

The Lazarus in our life will probably not be a poor, starving man with sores sitting outside our door. Some wounds are more difficult to see...and easier to ignore. I find it so hard to give in situations where I can't 'fix' the problem. It's hard to jump in when someone else's life is messy. There can be strong emotions that are uncomfortable to deal with. There can be physical suffering that I can't do anything to relieve.

In a lot of ways it's easier to write a check for poor and suffering people on the other side of the world that I have no personal contact with then it is to share my time and emotional energy on people God  places in my life...or even with members of my own family!

I find that I'm always struggling with balance in my life coupled with a copious helping of guilt! There are so many things to do each day, so many people in my life and the whole world, and I am so inadequate to meet anyone's needs completely. It makes me want to turtle...but that doesn't help anyone!

I think that choosing to be selfless is something that will always challenge me! I'm trying to be a better listener so that I will respond in the best way when God reveals "Lazurus" to me each day. I'm also trying to listen to the WAY God wants me to respond. I can't solve anyone's situation, but I can bring them a little encouragement and hope. I can send a quick email or a text, or I can stop in to visit someone, or I can make someone a meal or a cheesecake. I can say a rosary or a chaplet...or I can utter a simple prayer if that's all I'm inspired to do. Mother Teresa said, "It's not about how much we give but how much love we put into giving."

After all, it's God's grace that brings the comfort and healing.

We are merely the vessels He uses at any given moment to deliver the graces....we just need to cooperate.