Last week I had the opportunity to visit with my elderly mother. She will not like me saying that she is elderly, but I think at some point we have to concede that when we reach our eighties that we might be considered elderly. During my visit, I noticed she received a lot of frustrating phone calls. I say frustrating because as soon as she would answer the phone, she would immediately become agitated with the caller telling them quickly that she didn’t require their services and to stop calling her. This apparently goes on every day with these scammers, who seem to prey on the elderly, attempting to get them to buy into their product or services for their undiagnosed pain, computer issues, or a plethora of other problems.
I told her a story that I recently heard of how a former colleague dealt with these types of frustrating calls. He relished in turning the tables on the scammer and so I suggested she might want to give it a try. If nothing else, it would be a fun way to deal with the calls helping them not be so frustrating, more of a game, and who knows the calls might just stop.
She contacted me this week to announce with glee how her first call went. Apparently, this scammer announced that he was calling about her pain. She immediately launched into telling him that she knew and just wasn’t sure how she was going to continue to live with it. The caller then hung up! She said she was very disappointed that she didn’t get to tell him how bad it really was. Now, she is eagerly awaiting her next call as she works on her own script material to give it right back to these scammers.
In life, we often deal with a number of difficult and frustrating things mostly created by people. I recently heard of another elderly lady who lives in a small town in East Texas that met up with a rather difficult person. She was on her way to the supermarket one morning when her car stalled at a stop sign. She tried everything to get her car started again, but luck was not on her side.
Suddenly, a man in a pick-up truck came up behind her and with obvious agitation started honking the horn at her impatiently. She doubled her efforts to attempt to get her car going. She pumped the gas, turned the ignition, but still, the car wouldn’t start. The man in the pick-up truck continued to honk his horn constantly and loudly. So, she finally got out of her car and calmly walked back to the man motioning for him to lower his window. She then politely said, “I’ll make a deal with you. If you will go and attempt to start my car, I’ll be happy to honk your horn for you!”
Sometimes, it is necessary to be prepared when the frustrations of life and difficult people come at us. It is important that we use our given skills to pass these tests of patience. This is where we find Christ, in this week’s focus verse with the telling of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Christ is being ambushed by an expert in religious law, perhaps to trap Him, but in the end, Christ reminds us all, of the main commands of the Christian faith.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”Luke 10:37 (NLT)
Christ efficiently shows the expert 3 points in the story as he turned the tables back on him;
- Not loving is easy to justify, but never right
- Loving others means everyone
- Love means acting to meet a person’s need as there is never a good reason to refuse to help someone in need
Christ clearly tells us that we must decide to love and act in the best interest of others. When we align ourselves with Christ and stay within His control, He provides us with the by-products to handle the frustrating things of life and the sometimes-difficult people who cause them. These by-products can’t be obtained without His help, but when we love God and our neighbors the by-products or fruits of the Spirit come as a package deal through the Holy Spirit. And it is in this way that we hold the ability to deal with frustrating situations, difficult people, or the combined effort of the two.
It is easy to come up with excuses and justifications on why we can’t help meeting the needs of others, but it is important to remember that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can move beyond our moaning and groaning to extend a willing attitude to those in need. The provided by-products of a life with Christ helps us to remain calm and continue to love even when we are busy, frustrated, and tired. Clearly, there is no excuse for not loving because Christian love is a decision to act in the best interest of others. Furthermore, when we choose to love one another this impact goes far beyond our neighborhoods and communities.
Won’t you be challenged to make a concrete decision to act in the best interest of others? Allow your convictions to be firmly rooted by laying aside all excuses and helping those around you in need. Find your motivation in knowing that the Holy Spirit is there to help you and that when you act in love you are showing Christ to the world. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that you can love because you are first loved by Christ.
So, this week’s lesson is to go forth and choose to love and don’t mess with the elderly as they have plenty of time to turn the tables back on you!
Love in Christ,
Every act, every deed of justice and mercy and benevolence, makes heavenly music in Heaven.Ellen G. White
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you find it easy to create excuses for helping those in need? How do you respond when difficult people seem to attack you? Share your thoughts on making the decision to act on helping others meet their needs while showing the world Christ.
Credits Tyndale House Publishers. (1996). Life Application Study Bible. Carol Steam: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.