An Inexpensive Gift You Can Give
"Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well." 1 Peter 4:10 (CEV)
I really needed to talk to someone.
I desperately needed to process the ramifications of a heavy weight I carried and wanted to hear a caring voice on the other end of the line. I desired the gift of truth wrapped in encouragement and presented with a little affirmation.
So I picked up the phone and called my friend.
She answered, but I could tell she was busy. She was in the car with her kids running errands, so I offered to call her back and chat later, but she insisted that she had time to talk.
I believed her and began sharing my heart’s concerns.
However, multiple times during our conversation, she asked me to hold while she took another call or needed to talk to her kids. She did try hard to listen well in between distractions, but after about 10 minutes, she interrupted me to say that she’d arrived at her destination. She needed to get her kids out of the car and take care of her errand. She offered to call me back.
I was left hanging, feeling a tad unimportant, and a lot silly for even attempting to "put myself out there" and share my struggle and desire for encouragement. In the moment where I needed support and reached out for that very thing, I was left with a sense of regret for even trying.
Now, I know my friend didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, imply that I wasn’t important or leave me hanging. How do I know this you might ask? Because I’ve been that friend, too.
There have been times when someone has called or reached out to me and in my genuine and sincere desire to make time for them, I’ve squeezed them into a space in my time that wasn’t adequate. I’m guilty of unintentionally leaving people I love and care for feeling forgotten and a tad bit unimportant.
So what do I wish my friend had done? What did I become painfully aware of that I can do for others?
Give the gift of attention.
Attention is an easy and inexpensive gift that you and I can give to others.
In Mark 5:25-34, we find Jesus busy with the demands of His everyday ministry life. Healing and teaching took up a lot of His time and the more He did, the more the people wanted Him to do. Large crowds followed Him and pressed in on Him everywhere He went. Jesus was a busy man on a mission.
And yet, one woman needed His help and desired His attention.
She carried the heavy weight of a broken spirit and body. She suffered from abnormal bleeding and carried with it the shame, frustration and loneliness of being an outcast — an "untouchable." She desired the gift of wholeness wrapped in compassion and presented with a little mercy, so she took the risk of reaching out to Jesus.
She touched Him.
And Jesus noticed. Even amidst the busy demands of His day, He stopped and gave special attention to this woman, her problem and her heart’s desire. Jesus made room in an overflowing schedule, and as a result, a woman received a new opportunity at life and we have a great picture of what it means to give others the gift of our attention.
Jesus spent time with those who would have easily gone unnoticed by others. He willingly and regularly paused His own activities, engaged one-on-one, and made room for meaningful conversations. He gave the gift of His attention and it cost Him nothing more than His time. Because of His example, I am reminded of how important it is to make room in my life for unexpected interruptions.
And I’m reminded of the gift my undivided attention can be to others.
Dear Jesus, I’m so glad You understand what it is to have an overflowing schedule. Yet, You still made time to give the gift of Your full attention when You engaged with others. Help me to do the same. Give me the wisdom to know when to pause and with whom I should engage. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor." (NASB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you struggle with giving others your undivided attention? Why do you think that is?
Pray and ask God to show you how you can give the gift of your attention to someone today.