Sometimes I think it takes MJ and I longer to recover from Susan’s rough nights than it does for her. Page 84 was going to be a day to catch up from some long days and short nights but that didn’t take place as I had to eat some German Chocolate cake, so to speak — more about that later. 🙂 The day began early with the regular cleaning and prep work for the day. I found out mid-day yesterday that I would have 30 students helping me this morning to serve and be a blessing to me and the church. With rain in the forecast for all day, that meant I was scrambling to find indoor things for them to do that would not be disruptive to the other 20 students and the 30 preschoolers who would still be having classes. I did manage to find enough supplies to keep them busy wiping down walls and baseboards with damp cloths for most of the time allotted.
As the students went back to class and I spent the rest of the morning cleaning up after them, I thought about the German Chocolate cake I would eat each year for my birthday when I was young. My older brother loves German Chocolate cake and, from what I’m told, my mom makes one of the best. I say “from what I’m told” because I don’t like German Chocolate cake. Yet because it became the traditional family birthday cake, every year I would eat as small a piece as possible accompanied by as much ice cream as possible. I knew mom had spent a lot of time and effort in making it — there were no box mixes of any kind in the house when I grew up. I knew better than to complain about the cake, or any of the food mom made for us each day. In just trying to figure out life I knew I did enough things to disappoint my mom that I couldn’t imagine doing so intentionally. She wanted to bless me with a birthday cake, the least I could do was to bless her by eating it.
All of this made me think about they ways I try to bless others. Do I try to be a blessing according to my need or in ways that benefit those I wish to bless? How do I know the difference? How do I know what others would consider to be a blessing to them? Each of us have people in our life that when special occasions roll around we know exactly what to give them. Yet there are others in our life that if we wanted to give them something meaningful we would have no idea what it would be. The difference is usually related to how much time we spend listening and observing compared to talking and doing. The Bible says we should speak to people in ways that benefit them “according to their needs” which may be different from ours. We have a responsibility to serve others in ways that consider their needs above our own.
Whether recognized or not, the greatest need any of us have is the need for a growing relationship with Jesus. It is this need that should determine not only how we serve and bless others, but how we respond to the serving and blessing that is done by others. While we would like others to understand our needs, we must realize that won’t always happen anymore than we will always understand the needs of others. Sometimes they just aren’t paying attention and sometimes we don’t know how to communicate what our needs really are. Sometimes we just have to eat cake so that we are a blessing to those serving it even when it is not what we really wanted. While that may be difficult, it is a sign of growth and maturity. One of the things I like most about spring is the visible signs of growth that appear all through creation. As I’m out hiking this time of year, the flowers begin to appear and the trees begin to bud and leaf out. The signs of growth are hard to miss. I wonder if the signs of growth in your life and mine are just as obvious.
I pray that you and I would truly be a blessing to others according to their needs. I pray that we would take the time to understand the needs of others and what things would be a true blessing to them. I pray that we would value the attempts of others to serve and bless us. I pray that we would not be guilty of robbing others of a blessing that we are able to facilitate. I pray that our growth in Christ would be visible to those who are watching us.