Proverbs 31:20 says, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”
“I’m too busy.” “I don’t have time.” “I’m tired from all the rushing around I did today.” Does this sound familiar? Have any of you ever said anything similar to this? I have, and more often than I would like to admit. Many of us, without even realizing it, daily complain about our busy schedules. We whine to others because we are too busy to go somewhere fun, or we miss out on shopping trips with friends because of the demands of the family, or we can’t do what we want, because… blah, blah, blah.
Not only do we complain about our busy schedules, but we complain when something causes our life (busy schedules) to come to an abrupt halt. “Johnny was sick, and now I have to stay home with him.” Just look on Facebook and we’ll find plenty of discontented people with all their stories. Sometimes it seems like it is a competition: people are trying to convince one another that no one has it as bad as they do!
Most of the complaining that we do is because of selfish, inward thinking. We can’t get our minds off of ourselves and what we want, and soon we become discontented complainers. I know of people who seem so unhappy, and sometimes I want to shake them to get them to see all the blessings they have. Instead, they focus so much on themselves, their “problems,” and their desires. Eventually, they even struggle with feelings of discouragement and depression.
The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 was not a selfish person, and therefore was a woman full of joy and contentment. One of the keys to having true happiness is to look outwardly, at the needs of others, with a desire to be a blessing to them. There is Joy in Serving Jesus is a song that I was taught as a young girl. We normally think that serving Jesus means to teach Sunday School or sing specials or play an instrument. I have had someone tell me that there isn’t really anything they can do for the Lord because they aren’t being used in the church. I reminded this person that the people are the church, and to look for ways to serve them.
Is there someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one? Write them a note with a word of encouragement. What about someone who is sick? Let them know you care, by making a pot of chicken noodle soup for them. Does a friend suffer from chronic pain? Why not let them know you would be willing to do some physical tasks for them. These “small” things will be HUGE blessings to those who need some encouragement right now. No one else may ever know the things you have done for others, but the joy that comes from being a blessing to others far outweigh the outward recognition you receive from doing things in the spotlight.
I just heard about someone who took a homemade meal to a family that is going through a very difficult time right now. This person has a large family and a busy schedule, yet was able to find the time to reach out to someone in need. This was done, not for recognition, but because of genuine concern for others.
I recently witnessed a single girl giving some homemade muffins to a church member who has experienced some physical challenges. Her desire was to be a blessing and encouragement to this friend, and in witnessing this, I was blessed, too!
Maybe you don’t cook or bake. I don’t think too many people would turn down a basket of produce or a treat from the local bakery. For those that do like to bake, I am sharing a recipe for scones that I have made at times to be an encouragement to others.
Orange/Cream Cheese Scone Wedges
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 TBSP grated orange peel
1 ¾ cup flour
3 TBSP granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
6 TBSP firm butter
1 TBSP grated orange peel
¼ cup whipping cream
1 egg, beaten
2 TBSP course sugar (like turbinado)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat the filling ingredients until smooth. In a large bowl, mix flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in orange peel, whipping cream, and I egg.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat, Knead lightly 10 times. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 9-inch round. Spread filling over one round. Place second round on top of filling. Using a pizza cutter, cut round into 8 triangles. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.