A few weeks ago, I took my kids to the park. I was watching them as they played on the busy playground, and I was struck by something I saw. There was an older girl (probably early teens) in a green shirt. She was there with another girl her age with special needs. My two-year-old daughter was ahead of them on the playground and went down the slide quickly, got back on her feet, and went up the stairs to go down the slide again.
The girl in the green shirt took her time as she asked her friend whether or not she wanted to go down the slide. This girl made sure her friend felt comfortable and then went down with her, holding her hand the whole way.
I really tried not to stare, but my heart was exploding with emotions as I watched this all unfold. My daughter is two, and going down the slide is no big deal. For this girl with special needs, it was a big deal. She was apprehensive, but she wanted to try it. Once she got to the bottom, she had had enough and needed a break. Her friend in the green shirt helped calm her down and walked her to the park bench where they could sit for a while.
Girl in the green shirt, you are my hero.
I can’t stop thinking about what I saw that day and how it relates to things the Bible says about caring for others and the little things we do in life. I want to share with you just two reflections. The first is this:
There are people in this world who face huge challenges every day. For most of us, going down the slide is no big deal (even for my young daughter). That’s not true for everyone. People carry their unique crosses in life that bring their own unique burdens and challenges. Whether it’s special needs, family troubles, health complications, or just not getting high school math, there are people all around us who are dealing with real challenges that we are often oblivious to. It’s good for us to take notice of them. It’s good for us to pray for them. It’s good for us to reach out to them in love and look for ways to be a blessing for them in any way we can. It would be easy to ignore them and the crosses they carry, but it may be that God put us in their paths so that we have the privilege of being a blessing for them as we bear their burdens with them. Which leads me to my second reflection:
When done in faith, our little acts of love mean an awful lot. We may not always get a thank-you or see the full impact, but the little things done for others—when they’re done out of love for Jesus—are beautiful expressions of faith and kindness. And they matter a great deal. God sees them. God loves them. God honors them. Jesus once said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Sitting with the widow when she’s so alone, praying with the man whose wife just walked out, or holding the hand of a friend down the slide may be just what that person needs. What a privilege it is to be the one who can be a blessing in these little ways! When we do these things from a heart overflowing with thanks for Jesus’ love, he says we’re also doing it for him.
I hope you’re inspired today by the girl in the green shirt.
I sure was.
Kurt Wetzel is the mission pastor at Cross of Christ Church, serving the Treasure Valley in Idaho. He; his wife, Stephanie; and their four children love Friday Family Fun Days, music, gardening, the mountains, and—most of all—their Savior Jesus.
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