JOB 2:11-13: Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”
We know God has commanded us to love Him and people; all people. We know the Lord Jesus sets the standard for this love; sacrificial giving of oneself. We also know there are hurting people all around us, in our families, neighborhoods, and churches that desperately need to be loved by us as Christ’s people. But there is something else we need to know and put into practice. This something is challenged in our world but without this something, we cannot love. And this something is a choice, a necessary choice, if we are going to show people the reality of Christ and the credibility of Christianity. One more thing about this something. It is the greatest gift we give to people. Now the something. It is ourselves and more directly, our availability for people to cry on our shoulders, share their burdens, and simply to have someone to listen to them. And yes, it is a challenge because one of the most self-deceiving words we will ever say is “I just don’t have the time” when it comes to things like ministering for the Lord, being involved in people’s lives, and showing the love of Christ by being available to hurting people. It is self-deceiving because we will always have time todo the things we want to do. In today’s scripture Job’s friends serve a good model of availability. They will quickly change, but in the beginning, pay attention to what they did. They were available for Job, not as fixer or advice-givers, but listeners. We can learn a lot from them in how we minister to hurting believers. Work our way through the scripture and notice the intentionality and availability of these friends of Job toward their hurting friend. And then, learn the same lesson from the heart-warming story below.
There were two families living side by side. They were close with each having two young daughters who had become the best of friends. Unexpectedly, one of the precious little girls became gravely ill and died. The sorrow was deep. The remaining little girl asked her mom if she could go next door to her friend’s house. Her mother granted her permission. The girl departed and after a good bit of time had passed she returned. Her mother asked her “What were you doing over there, sweety?” She responded, “I was comforting my friend’s mom.” Knowing her daughter was of such a young age, she quizzed,“ How did you do that?” Her compassionate little girl responded, “I just sat down close to her and cried with her.”
The great gift we give someone is ourselves–our time and availability to be a shoulder and a listening ear in times of sorrow and hurt.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see the greatest gift I may give to anyone is myself to be available for them.”
QUOTE: “We cannot love properly if we don’t give of ourselves in our availability to love people.”