“Sundays are usually the only time subway’s are peaceful. But this particular morning in the midst of a quiet time of reading and relaxing the peace scene was shattered when a father with two boisterous children burst in the car. They were loud, obnoxious, and totally out of control as they raced around the car even grabbing people’s newspapers”
If you were on the subway, what would you think? How would you feel toward the father? What would you say? Well, it happened to Stephen Covey author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In the book he describes his irritation.
Finally, he turned to the father who seemed totally oblivious to what was going on and said, “Sir, your children are really distributing a lot of people. I wonder if you could control them a little more?”
The man looked up for the first time and then softly said, “Oh, you’re right. Is guess I should do something about it. Then he explained, almost apologetically, that they had just come from the hospital only an hour ago where his wife had died. He said that he didn’t know what to do. Then offered that he guessed his children didn’t either.
Covey’s attitude, as you can imagine, instantly changed. He moved from irritation to empathy. From impatience to understanding. From annoyance to concern.
Our Bible word of the week is “care.”
God cares for us. He is interested in our concerns. And invites us to cast our cares, anxieties and troubles upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). He also desires that we care about others. Our family. Our friends. Our brethren.
To a divided church with lots of challenges, Paul gave the Corinthian brethren a simple solution to solve their problems. “There should be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another” (1 Cor 12:26)
Think about their problems. Exaltation of men. Lawsuits among brethren. Marital issues. Lack of discipline. Desecration of the Lord’s supper. Violation of headship. Disorder in the assembly. Jealousy over spiritual gifts. All of these problems could have been solved by genuine care. Concern. Compassion.
There is an old saying that “people don’t care how much you know, until the know how much you care.”
While it is not possible to know the cares and concerns of everyone on the subway or the highway of life, we do need to be sensitive to the needs of others. Our immediately family. Our church family. Our neighbors. One hallmark of Christian character is compassion. Really caring about others. Their problems. Their hurts. Their concerns.
In the fast-paced world that is too often characterized by selfish interests, it’s good to slow down. Look around. Be aware. And really see what’s going on around us.
The parable of the Good Samaritan, told by Jesus, forever settles the question, “Who is my neighbor?” It is he or she that is laying wounded along life’s way. Who is suffering. Who is neglected. Who is hurting. Who needs a kind heart. A tender touch. And a helping hand.
Pablo Casals, the famous Cellist and Conductor once observed, “I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” And I might add that capacity is God-given. This week awaken the divine spark within you and see people around you with fresh eyes. An open heart. And a sensitive spirit. And then care. Really care about people. It will not only make a difference in their lives, it will change your life. For the better.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman