Five minutes doesn’t seem like a long time to make a difference in someone’s life. But it can be. And God knows when it is needed, and where. My friend was at the gym recently. She and her husband go regularly to work out, staying as healthy as they can. In all the days they go, my friend rarely if ever uses the locker room—she usually heads right home after her workout. But that day, as she finished and told her husband she was ready to go, he asked for a bit more time to finish what he was doing. She was fine with that, and decided to go into the locker room to wash her hands. As she entered, she saw a friend she had known from a Bible study she had attended. So of course, she asked her how she was doing. The woman began to cry...she said life was very difficult, and not making a whole lot of sense at the time. They had a sweet time of fellowship, as my friend cared for her, listened to her, and encouraged her. The woman would soon be moving, and when they talked about where her new house was located, it turns out she would be moving right next door to my friend’s brother and sister-in-law. My friend could assure her that even though she knew no one at her new location, she would have good neighbors.
God knew there was a distraught child of His in the locker room that day. He knew just the person that was needed to comfort her. My friend was made available to serve in God’s Kingdom work without even knowing why she was being sent into the locker room. The Bible says we need to be prepared. Prepared to do what? Many things—one of which is to encourage someone. I know my friend reads God’s Word a lot. She prepares her heart to comfort and encourage others with the comfort and encouragement she finds in the Bible. How do I know this? Because she often comforts and encourages me, and holds me accountable to God’s Word. I was not surprised when she shared this story with me. It is who she is in Christ. She knows her Savior and she strives to be more like Him.
Searching And Noticing the Divine is good for us to do each day. But the Divine, our Lord, is also searching for those of us willing to notice those in our path and reach out to them. He wants us to be prepared, in season and out, by knowing His Word. Sometimes it’s for correcting. Sometimes it’s for rebuking. Those are hard acts of obedience. Sometimes we get the more enjoyable task of encouraging through sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and His eternal Hope with those we meet. Always, we are to exercise great patience and care when we are out in the world serving our Lord. It may not take much longer than five minutes with someone, but it can make all the difference in their world.
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke
and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)