He Makes You Matter

You may think that you don’t much matter.

Few know you.

Few would miss you if you were gone.

Your talents are minimal.

Your funds are limited.

Your skills are pedestrian.

And in the big picture you are probably right. The world will go on just fine without you. Your absence will not make the lights dim or the earth slow its revolution.

Within half a century you will be absolutely forgotten and photos of you merely a curiosity.

This is true for every kind of human being with the exception of one: the one who Christ lives in.

He makes your small seemingly insignificant act of love or kindness an eternal milestone for someone.

He keeps your prayers forever. Selah (Pause, and think about this)

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A Kindness Revolution

What if there were an explosion of kindness in the world? What if, suddenly, everyone in my neighborhood was infused by an urge to be kind? People would be more considerate - they would park in such a way that they took up only one spot in front of my house, and not two. They would see someone carrying bags of groceries from their trunk to their house and offer to help. They would mow their lawn, and while they were at it, mow the single mom's lawn across the street. They would smile at one another and say hello as they were coming and going. It would be like Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood, and I would love it.

The atmosphere in the grocery stores on Saturdays would experience a profound climate shift. Cashiers would be smiling, looking their customers in the eyes and greeting them, and they would be encouraged to do so because customers would be patient and thoughtful as they went through the lines. When something that was "supposed" to be on sale rang in at full price, customers would say, gently and with a genuine smile, "Would you mind looking into that item? I think it was marked on sale. Perhaps if you re-swiped my customer card?" And the cashier might say, "Sure! Let me check into it. Oh I'm terribly sorry, but that sale ended yesterday. But ____ is on sale now - would you like to get that instead?" Mothers would not smack their kids for asking for candy. Men would not berate their wives for buying fattening snack foods. It would be... heavenly.

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Knowing the Difference: Service vs. Slavery

It’s important to know the difference between service and slavery. Slavery is at the heart of dysfunctional families. When people serve others because they are forced to do so, freedom to truly serve is lost. Slavery hardens the heart. Slavery creates anger, bitterness, and resentment.

Listen to the emotional pain of a divorced single: “I served him for twenty years. I have waited on him hand and foot. I have been his doormat while he ignored me, mistreated me, and humiliated me in front of my friends and family. I don’t hate him. I wish him no ill, but I resent him and I no longer wish to live with him.” That wife has performed acts of service for twenty years, but they have not been expressions of love. They were done out of fear, guilt, and resentment.

A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or do whatever you like with it. It has no will of its own. It can be your servant, but not your lover. When you treat another person as an object, you preclude the possibility of love. Manipulation by guilt (“If you loved me, you would do this for me”) is not the language of love. Coercion by fear (“You will do this or you will be sorry”) has no place in love.
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A Really Big Umbrella

Leah was one of several single adults who attended my marriage seminar in Cleveland. She explained, “I just want to learn more about marriage so that if I ever get married I’ll know what I’m supposed to do.” I wish more singles had that attitude before they got married. After lunch she asked if she could speak with me.

“I don’t want to take too much time,” she said, “but I have a problem.” I nodded and she continued.

“I’ve been dating a man for about six months who is the most wonderful man in the world, but I don’t have romantic feelings for him. I wish I did because he’s so wonderful.”

“So what makes you think he is so wonderful?” I asked.

“He is the nicest man I have ever met. I’ve never had a man do so much for me.”

“What does he do for you?” I asked.

“Well, it all started one night at church,” she said. “I had been to a singles meeting, and when I got ready to leave the church it was raining really hard. He stepped up with this huge umbrella and asked if he could take me to the car. I never remember having seen him before, but he said he had been attending about three weeks. Well, of course I accepted his offer. He got me to my car and told me to have a good evening. I thanked him; he closed the door and then walked to his car. I was appreciative, but it wasn’t a big deal.

“I didn’t think of him again until I noticed him in the singles meeting two weeks later. Afterward he asked me if I would like to get a milkshake. A milkshake sounded great to me, so I accepted. We walked across the street to the ice cream shop. I found out that he had never been married, was an electrical engineer who worked for a local company, and had lived in Cleveland about two years, having been transferred from back East. I enjoyed talking with him. However, when we got ready to leave it was raining again. He told me to wait while he got his car, then he would give me a ride to my car. Not wanting to get my hair wet, I agreed.

“He ran across the street and returned shortly with his car, met me at the door with the umbrella, then drove me to my car. He was soaking wet. As I drove home I had the thought that he’s a really nice guy, but I certainly didn’t think about dating him.

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Gifts Don't Grow on Trees?

We all have specific friends who love receiving gifts-it's their primary love language. It is what makes them feel loved most deeply.

Gifts need not be expensive; after all, "it's the thought that counts." But I remind you, it is not the thought left in your head that counts; it is the gift that came out of the thought that communicates emotional love.

The gift can be any size, shape, color, or price. It may be purchased, found, or made. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift won't really matter. If you can afford it, you can purchase a beautiful card for less than five dollars. If you cannot, you can make one for free. Just go get the paper out of the trash can where you work, fold it in the middle, take scissors and cut out a heart, write "I love you," and sign your name. Gifts don't need to be expensive to have meaning.

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