The Gift Everybody Needs

by JOEL OSTEEN

Find Somebody to Be Good to Every Day
I wonder what our world would be like if each of us would find somebody to be good to every day. What would our city be like? What would our offices be like? What would our schools be like if we made it a priority to brighten somebody else’s day? Scripture teaches “Every opportunity we have we should do good to people” (see Galatians 6:10). That means we need to be on the lookout. We need to be proactive. We need to have the mindset of, “Who can I bless today?” “For whom can I do a favor?” You can’t just sit back and wait for the need to come to you. You have to go after it.

The Scripture says that in the last days the love of the great body of people will grow cold (see 2 Timothy 3:1–8). That simply means that people will be so busy, they’ll be so focused on their own needs, they’ll be so caught up in their drive for success that they won’t take time to make a difference.

Sometimes it’s easy for us to get so caught up in our own little world that we’re focused only on ourselves. “I’ve got my plans. Don’t get me off my schedule.” “I’d love to help you out with some work around your house, but I’m sorry, this is football season. I just don’t have the time.”

But we weren’t created to live selfishly. We were created to make a difference in the lives of others. John Bunyan, author of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone that cannot pay you back.”

HelpingWe weren’t created to live selfishly

Friends, all around us are hurting people who need our love and encouragement. Don’t miss the miracle of the moment. Don’t be too busy, or insensitive to the needs of those around you. Be willing to be inconvenienced. Be sensitive and pay attention to those around you, your friends, your coworkers and your relatives. Listen to what they’re saying. We shouldn’t miss opportunities to do good whenever situations come across our paths to bless people.

Jesus said. “When you do it to the least of one of these, it’s like you’re doing it unto Me,” (see Matthew 25:40). Proverbs 19:17 says, “He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” When you give to those in need, you are lending to God. And God knows how to pay you back — with interest! You may not be able to give money, but you can baby sit that single mom’s children. Why don’t you give her a break one night? Tell her, “You go do something special for yourself. Here’s a gift certificate. You go up to the mall. You go get your nails done. Our family is going to keep your children tonight.”

If you see one of your friends wearing the same clothes all the time, why don’t you step up to the plate and say “Let me buy you a new suit or two.” Or, “Take this gift certificate and go get yourself some new clothes.”

Maybe you and your family go out to eat every Sunday after church. Why don’t you take a single parent family along with you? Or better yet, be a mentor to one of those young children. That doesn’t take a lot of money. It just takes time and love. That just takes somebody that cares, somebody that’s willing to make a difference.

I heard a story about a young boy that lived in the inner city. He was about eight years old and was very poor. One cold day, he was looking in the window of a local store admiring a pair of tennis shoes. As he stood there, cold and barefooted, a lady came along and asked,

“Young man, what are you doing staring so intently in this window?”

Shyly he said, “Well, I was just sort of praying and asking God if He’d give me a new pair of tennis shoes.”

Without hesitation, the lady took him into the store and very gently and lovingly washed off his cold dirty feet. She put a brand new pair of socks on his feet. Then she told him to pick out three new pairs of tennis shoes.

The boy couldn’t believe it. He was so excited! He had never owned a new pair of shoes. He’d always just worn old hand-me-downs. After she had paid for the purchase, the woman handed the shoes to the child.

Reading

“Enjoy your shoes, son,” she said.

The little boy looked at her in amazement. Nobody had ever taken that kind of interest in him.

As serious as could be, with tears running down his cheeks, he said,

“Lady can I ask you a question? Are you God’s wife?”

Friend, you are never more like God than when you give. You’re never more like God than when you take time for people, than when you do something to bless someone else.

And not just in the big things. Learn to be good to people in your everyday life. When you stop to get a cup of coffee at work, bring your coworker back a cup, too. When traffic backs up on the freeway, let that car into the lane in front of you. At the grocery store, when you have a bunch of groceries and somebody behind you has just a few, let them go ahead of you. Or how about in the parking lot, when you pull up to that last front row parking space at the same time as another car? Why don’t you back up and let them have that space?

Do you want another simple way of blessing someone? When you’re at a restaurant, be a good tipper. Don’t leave that server a dollar bill when you just spent thirty dollars to eat.

“Well, I shared my testimony,” one person said. “I invited our waitress to church.”

That’s fine, but don’t cancel your testimony by your miserly tip. God’s people believe in being good to people. We believe in showing God’s kindness wherever we go.

When I tip people, I tell Victoria, “We’re going to sow a seed into that person’s life. Here’s an opportunity to bless someone with our words and our money.” When I leave that place, I want that server to be able to say, “That couple sure is generous. They are good to people.”

Love is seen in our actions. This world does not need to hear another sermon nearly as much as it needs to see us being good to people.

Love is seen in our actions

Learn to give your time, your money, or an encouraging word. When you show love, you are showing God to the world. And don’t worry if you don’t get any credit. When you let somebody in traffic in front of you, you may never see that person again. When you give somebody twenty dollars because you had compassion in your heart, you may never hear back from them, but let me assure you, God is keeping the records. He’s seen every time you’ve been good to somebody. He’s heard every encouraging word you’ve spoken. God has seen all the times you went out of your way to help somebody but they never even said thank you. The Scripture says when you do things in secret, when you do things without getting any credit, when nobody thanks you, God sees it, and you will even receive a greater reward.

It’s one thing to make a big splash and let everybody know how generous you are, but if you really want to be blessed, do something good for somebody and don’t tell anybody about it. Leave some cash in an unmarked envelope on the desk of that coworker that’s struggling to make ends meet. At the restaurant, buy somebody’s dinner and remain anonymous. Clean up the kitchen at the office and don’t tell anybody that you did it. When you do things in secret and you don’t get any credit, you are sowing a seed for God to do great things in your life.

Or maybe you overhear one of your coworkers saying, “Next week I’ve got to take my car in the shop. I don’t what I’m going to do. I don’t know how I’m going to get to work.” Why don’t you tell her, “Let me swing by in the mornings and pick you up.”

“Oh, no, that’s too far,” she may protest. “It’s out of your way.”

You can say, “It’s no big deal. I’ll be glad to do it.”

Listen to what people are saying around you. And look for opportunities to bless them.

A while back I had a friend over to help me on a project. I had just bought a brand new computer monitor, one of those flat screens, real large, real easy to see. My friend said, “Joel, I love your monitor. It’s so easy on our eyes.”

I picked up on that. I said, “It sure is. What kind of monitor do you have?”

“Oh, just an old piece of junk that I’ve been using for years,” he said.

I thought, “Here’s a great opportunity to be a blessing”.

A few days later, my friend had one of those new flat screen monitors show up on his doorstep. That was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I realize we can’t do that all the time. We can’t spend all our money like that. But we should be doing something good for somebody else.

Why don’t you make a decision with me that you’re going to start being good to people?

And remember, true love is always backed up with our actions. People are watching us, and one of the best witnesses we could have is simply by being good to people. If you’ll get up every day and focus on how you can be a blessing and not just on how you can get blessed, God will meet your own needs as you meet others’ needs. God will meet all your needs in abundance!

The Scripture says people will know true Christians by their fruit (see Matthew 7:15–23). They’re not going to know us by how many scriptures we quote. They’re not going to know us by how many Christian bumper stickers we have on our car. People are going to really know that we’re believers when we’re helping other people, meeting needs, doing good works, when we are blessing people with our words and our actions.

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