Passive and Active Care

Carry-On-Daily-Devotional-and-Meditation-on-Galatians-6-2You can care about someone or something without caring for him or her.

One is passive; the other is active.

That’s not to say that you have to make a grand gesture to show that you care for someone. There are many ways to care, from large to small. Sometimes the smallest things can seem enormous when someone is in need of care. Simply getting a note or text that someone is thinking of you when you struggle reveals a level of care, because that person displays care for you even when you are not standing in front of him or her. You are remembered.

Saying we care, that we’re willing to help, or that we’re praying is easy. It’s the follow-through that goes beyond words that takes time and effort. That’s not to say that if we don’t take action at a specific time or in a specific way, we don’t care. We can’t do all things for all people. But we can do some things for some people. We can trust that God weaves our lives together and we work together to care well, even when we can’t see all the care that’s happening around us. We can trust that God cares even when we feel separated from others, ignored, and overlooked.

Be active in your caring–both giving and receiving. Invite God to guide. Instead of responding to someone the way you would want to receive care, consider how that person would want or need to receive care and, more importantly, how God is guiding you. Be generous. Care abundantly.

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Are We Neutral, or Do We Not Care?

Sometimes being neutral is just apathy. We claim neutrality, because we don’t want to take the time or effort to care. We don’t want to find out too much, because knowledge comes with responsibility. We’ve seen how information has impacted others. We’ve seen anger, stubbornness, and what seems to be futile arguments, and we don’t want any part of it. But when we avoid the negativity that can come with familiarity with an issue or situation, we also miss out on possible compassion.

We can’t be invested in every single issue, but when we’re faced with it, we need to explore it with honesty and sensitivity. We will always be able to find someone who knows more or is more passionate about an issue than we are, but that doesn’t mean we refuse to ask questions and make a difference in a small way.

As we pursue truth and justice, we might see a couple different perspectives, and we feel we’re neutral, but perhaps it’s just that we stand on some shared ground. We still care. We still listen. We’re not apathetic. We need to check out motivation behind claiming neutrality. If it’s the easy way out, we’re not taking responsibility. Apathy is dangerous, unstable ground on which to stand.


Living Out Great Expectations


You have done amazing things we did not expect. You came down, and the mountains trembled before you. (Isaiah 64:3)

Many times, the difference between expectations and reality causes disappointment, but it can also cause surprise and celebration. Throughout the Bible, God showed up in amazing ways that people didn’t expect. Follow God’s lead.

Be understandable. If people don’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t follow, learn, and grow. They’re not going to understand everything you say – just as you sometimes won’t understand their perspective – but strive to find common ground and start there.

Be passionate. You’re not going to be excited about everything you’re doing all the time, but keep your passion level in check. People around you can sense if you’re going through the motions or if you’re seeking, learning, and growing. Passion is contagious.

Be protective. Avoid being overly protective or developing co-dependent relationships, but pay attention so that people aren’t getting left behind, lost, or hurt. Set healthy boundaries. Invite accountability. Learn lessons of responsibility and consequence.

Be attentive. Get to know the people around you – their interests, quirks, experiences, and dreams. As you get to know and care about people, they’ll trust you more. Listening might seem like it’s a small thing, but it’s one of the most inexpensive, sacrificial, generous gifts you can give.

It’s the Little Things (Turtles Included)

I was cruising behind a semi on the interstate when he unexpectedly swerved. I quickly glanced at what could be on the road to see what I needed to avoid, and all I saw was a small black something. How odd for a huge truck to swerve around something so small – something it wouldn’t have even felt if it had run over it.

Then, it moved, and I realized it was a turtle.

I was able to swerve around it as well, which was tricky since the rush of the truck sent it into high speed. I’ve never seen a turtle’s legs move so quickly!

I glanced in my rearview mirror and hoped the little guy would get across the road before the cars behind me reached him…or that they would see him and swerve.

As my focus returned to my front window, I looked at the truck still ahead of me. Its driver (1) paid attention to detail and (2) cared.

As you speed through life, are you (1) paying attention to detail and (2) caring?

There are people who unintentionally wonder onto the road or intentionally scurry across the road. Pay attention and be willing to slow down, go out of your way, or stop. What you do will impact those behind you.

Between dawn and sunset many people are broken to pieces; without being noticed, they die and are gone forever. (Job 4:20)

Spilled Milk

Our family farm included cattle. When a mama cow died or couldn’t take care of her calf, feeding responsibilities deferred to one of us. I enjoyed it (most of the time). It was like adventures in adoption – but with a lot less work and worry.

In order to feed the calf, we placed powdered formula in a large bottle, added milk, placed the nipple on the bottle and shook until well-mixed. Getting the nipple securely on the bottle was the tricky part. I don’t know what the bottles look like now, but back then, the only way to get the nipple securely onto the bottle was to turn the base of it inside out, hold it securely onto the top of the bottle and carefully flip the base over the neck of the bottle. If it wasn’t on straight or completely, I’d have to pry the bottle apart and try again. All this wrestling went on while the bottle was full. Like anything else, the more often I did it, the better and faster I got.

The morning feeding had to take place before I left for school. I like efficiency, and it seemed silly for me to change into work clothes just to feed the calf and then change my clothes again for school. I’d been feeding this calf for quite a while, so surely I could dress in my school clothes.

Wrong. The calf pulled on the bottle hard enough that I had to hold the bottle with both hands and counter the calf’s weight by leaning back slightly. The calf’s pulling power is the reason the bottle must be put together correctly. It looked like it was…but after about thirty seconds of tugging, the bottle and nipple flew apart, and I staggered backward, falling in the straw as milk flew all over me.

Somehow, I then had to figure out a way to make another bottle, feed the calf, change my clothes and still be ready for school on time! I don’t remember if I made it or not. I’m assuming I did. But I remember not quite being able to get the smell of the milk off me. I imagined I smelled like it all day long even though anyone I asked said they couldn’t smell it.

When has something untimely happened? Something that disrupted your schedule, plans, or dreams?

How do you typically respond to “spilled milk,” or unexpected messes? Is there anything about your response you’d like to change?

Watch for spilled milk in your day. After the spill, consider it as an opportunity to take a different route, persevere through a challenge, or reprioritize. After all, it could be a learning experience for you to move beyond spilled milk to something better!

As newborn babies want milk, you should want the pure and simple teaching. By it you can mature in your salvation, because you have already examined and seen how good the Lord is. 1 Peter 2:2-3

Worship in Jerusalem

Today is Sunday in Jerusalem. Our second Sunday in Jerusalem, but since most of the group was arriving a week ago, we weren’t able to attend a worship service together. Today we had plans.

When our driver didn’t arrive, I wondered, “What if he thinks we’re still at our first Jerusalem hotel?” I called him. Yes, he was sitting outside the hotel we were in a week ago. What to do? We could either have him drive the distance to pick us up and arrive about an hour late for church or we could let him go by himself to be sure his own weekly worship experience wasn’t disrupted. We chose the latter. We were disappointed but we didn’t want the evening to be about us.

Several of us met together for prayer and then each found a place to pray, study, and worship God. Through my disappointment, I trusted God to pour into each of us. After all, he already knew what we’d be doing tonight. He meets us just where we are. As I sat in a darkening corner of a terrace overlooking the lights of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, I was overwhelmed with the opportunities I’ve had to experience and to worship every day I’ve been in Israel.

  • Interacting with and encouraging God’s people and basking in the richness of diversity. People are seeking, and God meets each one just where she is – including me.
  • Digging into and experiencing God’s Word, watching it leap off the page and sink roots deeper into my heart.
  • Walking and basking in God’s presence. Marvelling at who he is and his wisdom, love, and provision as my faith steeps in the faith of those who have lived before me.

As I was overwhelmed with all God is pouring into me, as I was rejoicing in who he is and grasping only a small glimpse of him, I heard steps and Tracie’s voice behind me as she placed her hands on my shoulders and asked if she could pray over me. As she prayed, tears streamed down my face.

…tears of joy that I’ve been blessed with Tracie’s friendship.

…tears of release as tiredness and concerns washed away.

…tears of appreciation for my God who cares so immensely for me – and you – that he would be involved in every aspect of my life. That he cares about every detail. That he knows my tears and my joys.

I’m still a bit disappointed this evening didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, but I’m rejoicing that it turned out the way God knew it would!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

What is your hope? What don’t you see?

Have faith…Be sure.

Have faith…Be certain.

Have faith…and trust.