To All the George Baileys in the World

Recently, I was the recipient of some unexpected and overwhelming generosity. I didn’t seek it out nor did I even have a hint that it was coming.

I felt like George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life when all the people he’s tried to help all those year come back and pay it forward back to him in droves.

I’ve decided that I won’t ever be able to match that kind of generosity, but I can do a few things:

  1. Pay it forward whenever is in my power to do so.
  2. To always have my eyes open to the need around me and to pray for a heart that yearns to meet those needs
  3. To live in continual gratitude and thanksgiving, because life all by itself is a gift and salvation even without any blessings attached to it is the greatest gift.
  4. To never forget that many are still living the part of George Bailey’s story where things aren’t quite so hunky-dory and who are feeling like they’re at the end of their rope.
  5. To be a better version of me than I was yesterday, or more accurately, to be a little more like Jesus every single day that He allows me to wake up.

I echo the words of Clarence, George’s guardian angel, when I say, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

If that’s  the case, then I am one of the most blessed individuals to ever live, due to the amazing family and friends God has placed in my life.

Thank you. You rock.

The end.

Something Good to Remember on a Monday

Matthew 5:1 says, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

I’ve read past that a thousand or more times. I’ve rushed past those words to get to the Sermon on the Mount, the good stuff. But I think I’ve done myself a disservice by not paying attention to this verse, particularly the first three words: “Seeing the crowds.”

Did you catch that? He saw the people who came to see him. He didn’t see bodies. He saw faces lined with pain. He saw heartaches and anxieties and unrest. He saw people just trying to get through the day.

Just as he sees you and he sees me.

Do you ever feel unnoticed? Do you ever post on facebook and no one responds? Do you ever comment on someone else’s post and he or she responds to everyone else but you?

Do you often feel invisible in a crowd? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that no one would miss you if you were suddenly not there? Or like George Bailey, do you think the world would be better off if you’d never been born?

You may not feel like anyone knows you or the secret shame and pain you carry. Jesus does.

You may think that you don’t matter to anyone. You matter to Jesus.

You are not alone. You have an advocate, someone who is on your side, who fights for you, who roots for you, who won’t abandon you in the dark or in the storms. His name is Jesus.

I didn’t come up with this, but it’s still true: if you had been the only one lost and in need of a Savior, Jesus still would have gone through every bit of the cross just for you. He loves you that much.

If your Monday’s been awesome, that’s great. God rejoices with you. But if your Monday was horrible and couldn’t end soon enough, this promise still holds true.

This is from a ragamuffin who needs daily reminders of the goodness of God as much as anyone else. God is faithful, even when it seems he is absent. He is good, always.

 

For All The George Baileys Out There

I know that George Bailey is normally associated with Christmas, but bear with me on this one. How many of you have felt like George Bailey at times?

Have you ever invested in a friendship only to feel like the other friend wasn’t investing nearly as much?

Have you ever felt like you were always the one giving the encouragement and blessing and never the one to receive it?

Have you ever made someone a high priority in your life and then felt like that you weren’t even a priority in theirs and it seemed like you didn’t matter to them and that they could take or leave you with no difference at all?

Have you ever felt like that if you were suddenly gone, you wouldn’t be missed all that much?

Then you know what it feels like to be a George Bailey.

But let me let you in on a little secret.

You may not think what you do matters or makes a difference or touches anybody’s lives, but it does.

Not everybody you encourage is in a place where they can reciprocate it. They could just be overwhelmed by life and stress. But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate and savor all the encouragement you give and your friendship.

True love in any form is never about giving as much as you get back. It’s always about giving and never expecting return, because God showed us that kind of love even when He knew we would never ever in a million years even begin to pay Him back for all He’s done.

I truly believe that the world will be turned upside down (or right-side up again) by small acts of kindness done with great love that never make the front page or get turned into movies or even get any recognition.

Jesus will say “Well done” to those who gave to the least of these who never could repay or at times even say, “Thank you.” For what you did for these, you did for Jesus Himself.

So take heart. Your labor is never in vain if it is done out of a compassionate heart filled with God’s love. It’s never for nothing.