The practical needs of people you don’t like

[Notice: I’m on vacation for August. So this month’s devotionals are some favourites from the past few years – and also previews of my upcoming book: “Up! – 313 Devotionals To Help You Start Your Day In A Biblical, Relevant Way.” Enjoy!]

Imagine a child trying to put together a barbecue from scratch. All seven hundred and thirty-nine pieces laying out on the back lawn… and a 4-year old scratching their head.

That’s actually how many of us feel when it comes loving people we just don’t like. It seems like an overwhelming task that we don’t want to do. Like a kid looking at the seven hundred and thirty-nine pieces of a yet-to-be assembled barbecue, we don’t even know where to begin!

So today, let me suggest this: Respond to a practical need they have.

Everyone has needs. Including you. And including every single person around you. Keeping in mind that love isn’t a feeling we have but a decision we make, one of the ways we can be loving followers of Jesus is to respond to a practical need they have.

Maybe they’re upset because a family member died and they just need a meal brought over. Maybe they could benefit from some help on the computer or with their car. Or maybe you just want to do something nice because they have a cloud over their head.

When I worked at the Ontario Legislature one guy in our office always brought another guy a coffee on Monday or Friday. They certainly weren’t best friends. In fact, they often disagreed. But it was one way to connect on the level of caffeinated kindness.

In Philippians 2:4 (ESV) Paul writes, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Do you want to do be more loving, even toward someone you don’t even like? Then respond to a practical need they have.

Never underestimate the acorns of respect and care that end up being oak trees.

By Matthew Ruttan

  • Starting TODAY, instead of being published Tuesday to Saturday, “Up!” will be published Monday to Friday to coordinate with the work week. Enjoy!

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