“How are you doing? she asked. “I heard about the death of your grandmother and have been thinking about you.” My eyes widened in surprise and pleasure as I recognized my friend Melanie’s voice on the phone. She’s a friend I dearly love, but we live long-distance and don’t stay in close touch.
I told her about my sadness, but also my joy over the fullness of my grandmother’s life, and we continued to catch up on old friends, kids and church. I started to wonder when we’d get to the reason for her call. Finally, there was a pause, and she explained that she needed to go back to her work day in a minute.
I was stunned. That was it?
There was no other agenda or hidden need. Melanie had just carved out the time in her day to call and check on me.
Melanie is a young widow whose precious husband died suddenly. She is dealing with raising children alone, running a business they used to manage as a couple and all the other curve-balls life inevitably throws her way. Yet she made time in her day just to check in with me. I told her how grateful I was that she had been so intentional and kind.
That is when Melanie explained that after her husband’s death, worship time at church was the time when the flood-gates of grief opened. She would often stand and cry throughout the service, pouring out her heart to God and receiving comfort from Him. And there was one woman who often sat by Melanie and silently held her hand.
Offering the ministry of presence.
A profound gift.
Melanie continued, describing the impact this gesture made on her. “I’ve learn how much sharing time means. If I can only run by and take a cake to someone who is hurting, I do it. All of life’s busyness can be overwhelming, but I make time for people now. People are the most important thing.”
I though of how my friend reflects Jesus–of how Jesus made people more important than His to-do list. There were so many He stopped for. Countless faces in the crowds who made Him pause, just because.
The woman at the well.
The woman with the issue of blood.
Mary at His feet.
The list could go on and on.
As I write, I think about the day’s to-do list. A long list. There are lines and lines of things to do that aren’t checked off yet, calling for my attention and time. They’re all important.
I think I’ll start a fresh to-do list and take a lesson from Melanie. I’ll leave room at the top of my list–room for names instead of tasks. My new first line on my checklist: “Be more like Jesus. Make people the most important thing today.”
Dear Lord, I need Your help to plan my day with Your priorities. You know how task driven I can become. Will You teach me to put people first? Sensitize my spirit to listen to Yours and to pause for people like You would. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application Steps: Pray and ask God to reveal ‘just because” pauses that He’s created for you as you go through your day.
Be ready to stop and make time to reach out. As you go on your way, pray that God will show Himself through your act of kindness.
Amy Carroll’s personal blog is amycarroll.org