This morning I watched a video of a six year old boy named Oliver who was decked out in his police uniform and riding his motorized motorcycle in a nursing home facility. (He actually believes he is a policeman.) This little guy melted my heart right away as he reminded me of Willy, a special boy in our life, who passed away from brain cancer this year. Willy was a caring boy like Oliver. Oliver said, “I just want to make someone smile today.” So, Oliver purchased two bunches of roses with money he saved up. He rode around the nursing home and handed out a rose with a ticket attached that said “for being too cute” to the residents, along with a hug. The joy and love he gave to them was almost palpable just watching it, like the love we felt when Willy hugged us.
Their faces went from serious or sad to a bright smile. The light seemed to come back in their eyes. What a reminder or picture of how Jesus showed mercy so many times in the New Testament and gave hope to others. We are called to show love and mercy, as well, to a world that seems to be looking for something in all the wrong places. Oliver sacrificed time and money to bring joy to someone else’s life, even people he most likely did not know. He did not hold back his touch of a hug because they were strangers. Likewise, Jesus asks us to serve one another, to love one another, and be a light in others lives. John 13:35 says, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
I felt convicted today by a six year old’s kindness and concern for someone else. My heart is broken for the elderly people out there right now who have not seen their loved ones or been able to feel their touch for months. I hear from my friends and family how depressed and isolated they are feeling. It has been a tough year for everyone and we all need a word of encouragement, to hear someone else’s voice, and to feel loved.
There are people in my life crying out for a dose of encouragement. What about the people I see in some capacity on a daily basis that I just assume are doing fine and haven’t taken a moment to even pay attention to how they seem. Hugging is not an option right now, but there are other demonstrations of care I am capable of giving. Why did Oliver’s tender care affect me so deeply? Because in all honesty I could not say I was doing a good job at reaching out to others in my spectrum of life. The question then became….what is God seeing in my day-to-day life and why is it important?
I was reminded of a sermon given by one of my favorite theologians, R.C. Sproul, when he spoke on how important it is that we live our lives in light of knowing God sees all we do. He sees how we love and serve one another, he sees our hearts, and knows our motives. Dr. Sproul told a story about a friend who asked him what the big idea of the Christian life is. He answered with the Latin words “it is coram deo which captures the essence of the Christian life.” He explained that the phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of God. “To live coram deo is to live our entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God.”
I want to live life remembering I am under God’s gaze 24-7. Right now is the perfect time to evaluate and find ways to follow Oliver’s example. I came up with a list of ways I might bless someone’s life. I am sharing this list with you in the hope it may help you to evaluate where you might be able to bless those in your family or sphere of life.
- Bring a special coffee or pastry to someone
- Buy paper-white bulbs and put them in a container from the Dollar Tree so they can watch them grow for Christmas. Brings a little beauty to their lives.
- Open the door for someone with a smile and a greeting
- Compliment three people in a day
- Text a message of encouragement to someone who needs it or just someone you haven’t communicated with for a time.
- A plate of cookies to someone who may be too busy to cook or bake.
- Send an email of gratitude
- Send a card to 5 people to just say “Thinking of you.”
- Run an errand for a busy mom who may be working at home and homeschooling at the same time.
- Put your phone away and have an intentional conversation with someone
- Write a note of encouragement to a business that you may know is struggling to stay open.
- Be willing to help a complete stranger
- Contact someone you may need to forgive
- Contribute to the food bank or a family in need
- Remember those who may be grieving for a loved one they lost this year and let them know you are thinking of them.
- Pray for a new person each day in your prayer time and let them know you are praying for them
- Talk to someone who may be forgotten (homeless?)
- Add a bible verse to any of the communications above
- Pay it forward at a drive through (McDonalds, Starbucks?)
- Call someone older and younger than you to just say hi.
This Christmas let’s remember we are living under the gaze of God who sent His Son as a baby, to live on earth as Emmanuel (God with us), and who secured the salvation of all who believe He is the Son of God. Join me in showing others the light of Jesus by following a six-year-old boy named Oliver’s example.