I must admit it: sometimes I get so involved in myself and what I am doing that I don’t notice what is happening in the lives of others around me. After all, I have my own issues and challenges. Who doesn’t? Does God expect me to always be alert to the needs of others around me when mine are so demanding?
To answer that question, think of Joseph. He was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. As a slave, he was falsely accused of the crime of attempted rape. As a result of those false charges, he went from a slave to a prisoner. Could life get any worse? Through it all, he continued to trust God and serve Him, even though it must have been very hard to do in that dirty, smelly, slimy pit known as an Egyptian prison. One day, some special inmates arrived: Pharaoh’s butler and baker. They had made Pharaoh mad and had been thrown in the prison for some lengthy “time out.” One day, Joseph—who had been made the #1 trustee—noticed that something was wrong with these two men. Their faces were sad. He asked them what was the matter (Genesis 40:6-7) and that was the beginning of his eventual release and elevation to the number two spot in all Egypt. It changed the entire course, not just of his life, but of the whole nation of Israel. It’s impact is still felt today.
The part that strikes me was that, despite all that had gone wrong in his life, he didn’t sit around in self-pity and bitterness. He served God and he served others. He didn’t focus on Himself but on others. He noticed others – really paid attention to them. And God blessed and delivered Him through it.
So I want to try to be more aware of others around me, in my home as well when around strangers outside. An encouraging comment, a small act of helpfulness, even a smile or casual greeting, can go a long way to encourage others in a time of need. Is my situation worse than Joseph’s? If he could notice and reach out to others so can I. And so can you.
Genesis 40:5-7 While they were in prison, Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning. When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.
Try to be more alert to the people around you today. Start with your own home, then friends and even include people you don’t know. Spread the love of Jesus wherever you go.
And remember, God is always watching and noticing you and willing to bring comfort to you whenever you need it (Isaiah 51:12). Just let Him.
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization