Have you ever received a delivery, card, text, phone call, donation, hug, or visitor you were not expecting, and it greatly lifted your heart? I have received all of the above—things which were totally unexpected but which touched my heart deeply. Did all my problems go away when I received these things? No, but some of the heaviness on my heart and mind did. I received hope, comfort, joy, love, and the reminder I was not alone. I was remembered when I thought I had been forgotten. I was loved when I felt unloved, and unlovable. I was comforted when I was sad. I was encouraged when the road felt too long. These gestures made it seem as though someone was journeying with me at a time when I was feeling alone on the road of life. And every time I look at the gifts now, reread the words, or reflect on the experiences, they continue to lift my heart. One person. One person took action, but the results were multiple and were just what I needed at the time. One person can make a difference, and one person can change the world.
At times, our reach may not seem to cover much space, but what if we are encouraging the ones who will change the world. What if we are parenting them? Are married to them? Are the child of one of them? Are the friend, or neighbor, or customer of one of them? In one gesture, in one moment of our time, in one stamp from our desk, one dollar from our wallet, one click on our screen, our one effort could make all the difference in the life of another one. And if our labor of love is founded on Christ, we will be bringing Life itself. We are His hands and feet while we live and breathe. Where will we reach? Where will we go?
People are lonely—lonely by themselves, lonely in their families, lonely in crowds. People are weary and downtrodden, living in prisons of shame, living lives of defeat and despair, grieving deeply, and believing that no one cares. Times are dark. Burdens are heavy. Pain is real. And we cannot even begin to imagine some of the things people are facing right now because they paste on plastic smiles and go through the motions, day after day after day, while inside, their hearts are withering away. What will make life better for them? Someone who will be their one.
We can reach out and help others by following Jesus’s example of being kind, encouraging, helpful, loving, giving, and sacrificial. We can help people see the love and beauty of God. We can help them find a way to live again, and the way to live eternally. When they are buried under the hardships of life, we can be the ray of sun that shines the love and hope of Jesus into their pain. When people are bowed low, we can be the ones to lift their heads and point them to the One who can truly help, the Maker of heaven and earth. His power strengthens the powerless, and His help helps the helpless.
Gestures, big or small, inexpensive or costly, can greatly lift someone’s heart and meet their needs—physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual. The consequences are significant. Our involvement can make burdens lighter. We can help mend a heart, be the glue that holds someone together when everything else is falling apart, and help someone live to fight another day. Our tokens and actions will remind people they are not alone, that they are seen and loved, and that God cares about the details of their lives. We all have the capability, no matter our resources, to encourage someone. Even if all we can give is a smile or a kind word, it matters. And when there has been giving on one side, there is now less lack on the other side. Our simple acts may pull someone back from the brink of hopelessness, depression, despair, or even suicide. We should make time and take time to pour into the lives of others. Time is fleeting, and the opportunities are passing.
We can make people feel loved and valued—today, and for years to come. I still remember kind words from decades ago, hugs from decades ago, people making time for me decades ago. Our actions matter. We can choose to bless someone every day. We can make it a habit to think of others and let them know we are thinking of them. The kind words we give today may be the only ones that have ever been heard. These simple words can have a profound impact. We can encourage people to face the trials they encounter in difficult places, the places where they are told they are worthless, and the places where they never feel loved. And even after we have passed out of their presence, the memory of how we touched their lives will remain. May what we do continue to comfort them just as a sweet fragrance lingers in the air.
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”1 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”2
May we cheer people on and help them finish, and help them finish well. Everyone needs a cheerleader. Infants need nurture, or they will not grow and develop well; and after infancy, each person needs uplifted. God designed us for relationships, not just to receive from them but to pour into them. Everyone needs to know they are worth it—worth someone taking the time for, worth someone being kind to, worth someone stepping into their world, worth someone feeling their pain.
We have the opportunity to change lives every day. Will we do it? And when we do it, will we do it for the better? An action or a word at just the right time can make all the difference. Will we be someone’s one?
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.3
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.4
1 Ephesians 5:1–2
2 Philippians 2:3–4
3 Galatians 6:9–10
4 First John 3:16–18
Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
©Text and photo Francee Strain, March 20, 2023
Know that you are loved and are never alone. Even when no human is physically present or offering you love and kindness, God will be your One. He gives love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness; and He can fill every part of you. And if you choose Him to be your God, He will never leave you or forsake you. He is waiting with outstretched arms. He is ready to adopt you into His family, to be your Father, to be your Savior, to be your ever-present help in time of need. He is ready to be your One.