When on vacation, I tend to be the kind of guy who is the “leader” in a “Follow the leader”-type parade. After all, I plan these trips to the minutest detail. Shouldn’t it be my place to lead? The only problem is that my followers tend to often be forgetful of this fact!
As we flew from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, Bahamas, we spent our time excitedly discussing the Bahamian beaches. We covered it all: from the azure colour of the ocean to the palm trees lining the shore, to the white tropical sand. So when we arrived in Nassau, the first thing we did was go to the beach!
Or at least, that’s what I did! Camera in my hand, I charged out onto the dock, all the while talking excitedly about the beauty around me. After just a few moments however, I realized that there was something very wrong. I looked around to find that I was all by myself! No wonder my fellow beach enthusiasts were giving me a strange look before turning quickly to look the other way!
But where were my “followers”?
It only took me a moment to locate them. They were up on the promenade, and my wife was sitting on a stone wall under some kind of a canopy. What surprised me the most was that she was talking to a local beach vendor! My wife is generally wary of such people! But the surprises weren’t finished yet. To my utter astonishment, she was listening with interest as the local lady tried to convince her to let her braid her hair! Imagine that! I smiled to myself. She would never go for that!
Just as I walked up, she was finalizing the deal with the lady. My mouth hung open in amazement, but there was nothing I could do, and two hours later her head was tied up in over 60 tiny braids. She sure looked beautiful!
Why did she agree for a different hair style? Then the truth came out. When the nimble-fingered lady first approached my wife, she perceived that here was someone who needed more than the money for her services. She needed encouragement and direction, and my wife took that two-hour opportunity to give it out. In the end, both my wife and the merchant were transformed. My wife outwardly: she was now, officially, a “Bahama Mama”; and the beach vender inwardly, as she made the promise to pursue God from now on.
I really shouldn’t have been surprised. This isn’t the first time something similar has happened. You see, my wife seems to have a unique gift of noticing people around her who are in need, and then doing something about it. I remember two years ago when I was again the “leader” in our famous “Follow the Leader” game in Grand Teton National Park. Once again I discovered that I was talking to myself, to the detriment of the other tourists around me. In fact, I’m sure I heard one say: “He must have escaped from the loonie bin!”
When I finally succeeded in locating the remainder of my crew, I found my wife with her arm around a 12 year-old boy who was in tears. Apparently he had lost his family during his trek around the lake. Why hadn’t I noticed the needs of that poor kid? I’m sure glad my wife did, because as a result, this episode had a happy ending.
The Bible reminds us that loving others the way Jesus loves them is a pleasing offering to God: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:1-2 NIV)
Do you love others the way Jesus does?
The more you take the time to discover Him in your life, the more you will love those around you. It’s inevitable! He IS love and since He lives in you, His love exudes through all of your pores! “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. ” (1 John 4:12 NIV)
Oops! Once again I am talking to myself. Where did my wife go this time? Wherever it is, I’m sure she is making a difference in someone else’s life!
(To view the entire “Sweet Sacrifice!” devotional series, please click here.)