As I looked at the overflowing clothes hamper, in my mind was a phrase that I had read many times “with a cheerful heart…” Ok. So doing laundry is not a big deal-even when it is long overdue. But cheerfully?
My thoughts then turned to the night before when I visited a new Bible Study class. Granted the Old Testament on a Tuesday night is not very exciting. In fact, the Old Testament can sometimes feel cumbersome. I met the teacher and the other students in the class as we prepared to review 1 Samuel. The teacher, who is chronically ill and happened to be experiencing a great deal of discomfort at that time, was there nevertheless with a smile on her face and ready to teach us. Whats more, with all of her illnesses and health conditions, she prayed for us. “What a cheerful heart..,” I thought. She was more concerned about us than herself. She used her own talents to further the learning of others.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace 1 Peter 4:10
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7
Sorting out the light and dark colors for the next load of clothes, I could not help but think about the other cheerful givers in our lives. The nurses who smile and care for strangers who just expelled some unknown body fluid all over everything. The foster parents who are up in the wee hours of the night rocking a wiggling crying infant, who has 102 temperature, while they also worry about getting their own kids off to school in three short hours. The firefighters who charge into a fire, risking their own lives, to save another human or pet while wearing over 100 pounds of gear on their backs. Military personnel, weighed down with combat gear, who go into the unknown simply because they love their country and stand up to fight against evil, so we can enjoy our freedom here at home. Teachers who enter the classroom smiling each day with the responsibility of helping kids achieve while meeting all the federal and state requirements thrust upon them. Police and other first responders who want to protect us from unknown terrors and aggression. Farmers and ranchers, who never get a break from physical work, as they help meet the nutritional needs of us all. There are many other types of jobs of service, and each one is filled by a caring person who puts others first.
So many people who do their jobs with cheerful hearts and little thanks. They show up day-after-day to work for others. These people use their own knowledge, talents, strengths, and skills to help others first. These individuals had the call and they made that particular decision to serve others for their profession. They did not have to do so, but they did. They serve for the good of mankind.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good 1 Corinthians, 12:4-7.
Living our lives to help others was an example first given to us by Christ. He always put others first as He guided us to learn more about His Father and the kingdom of heaven. He put all of us first by paying the ultimate price for our sins. For this, we should always give thanks. As part of our tribute to Him, we should put others first whenever possible. We should thank others who put us first. And, we should use our own gifts to help others…with a cheerful heart.
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