The third time He said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’”
Friend to Friend
Giving is not just about money. That does not mean we should be less than generous with the money God has given us. We should be quick and happy to share the financial resources we possess. But Kingdom giving encompasses every part of our lives.
The only miracle besides the resurrection of Jesus reported in all four Gospels is the feeding of the five thousand. As a teacher, I know the importance of repetition. If a truth is worth repeating four times, it is an important truth, and we need to listen up!
Huge crowds followed Jesus to the Sea of Galilee. Many of them were lame, blind, crippled … all seeking the healing touch of Jesus. And He healed each one. It took three days. When it was time for the people to return home, Jesus realized they needed food to make their journey home and shared that need with His disciples.
I can imagine the blank stares of the disciples as they tried to figure out how to feed the crowd. It probably seemed ridiculous to even consider feeding 5,000 men (and about 10,000 women and children). Jesus’ response in Matthew 15:34 was simple: “How many loaves do you have?” And with the meager resources at hand, a few loaves and fish, Jesus fed the hungry.
Most of the time we don’t realize how many “loaves” we have. We don’t consider the many ways we can feed the people God has placed in our world. Those people are there for a reason.
We can serve a loaf of reassurance to a neighbor whose husband has lost his job by inviting her over for a cup of coffee and a listening ear.
We can serve a loaf of support to an elderly friend who needs help buying groceries.
We can serve a loaf of encouragement to a young mom by offering to keep her kids for a couple of hours to give her a much needed break.
We can serve a loaf of joy to our family by preparing their favorite meal … just celebrating life together.
You have heard the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.” Truer words were never spoken when talking about encouragement. We all need encouragement – especially during the tough times. Those “tough” times can come in all shapes, sizes and forms and can vary from person to person.
We have one grandson who can run an extremely high fever, have a deep cut in his ear that is bleeding profusely, and have a headache that would put me in bed … all without a word of complaint. The doctors are amazed at this child’s high level of pain tolerance.
We have another grandson who has been known to dissolve into hysterics at the sight of a splinter embedded in a finger and turn ghastly pale and almost faint at the mere smell of the doctor’s office. The doctor’s have been amazed at this child’s low level of pain tolerance.
The difference between these two children does not reflect a right or wrong reaction. As one of my friends often says, “It is what it is!” When each child is in pain, they both need understanding, compassion and encouragement.
When the people in your life are in pain, they need a loaf of understanding, compassion and encouragement. God will take your “loaves” and meet those needs. How many loaves are you willing to give?
Father, I am amazed at how You love me through others. Thank You for the gift of encouragement. Help me receive that gift and then learn how to give it away to someone else in need. I want to be Your hands and feet to those who are hurting around me. Give me eyes to see them, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
- If you need encouragement, think of two people with whom you can share that need, and make a plan to do so.
- Look for people in your life to encourage.
- In your journal, record a recent time when you received and/or gave encouragement. What were the results?
- Write a note of encouragement to someone in need. Let them know you are praying for them. Offer to take care of a specific need such as preparing a meal, dropping by the grocery store to pick up a few items, or picking up their cleaning. Many times, people in pain can’t or won’t ask for help. If you see a need, meet it.
- Write a note of thanks to someone who has encouraged you.
More from the Girlfriends
Need help learning how to encourage and encourage your family? Check out Mary’s video, How to Love Your Family. Discover four steps you can take to building a successful family. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.