When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” —John 4:7
It was a huge cabin cruiser, not something you’d ever think of building in a backyard. But my friend did it. It took him three years to build. Having virtually no mechanical ability myself, I was overwhelmed. “How did you do it?” I asked. “Did you really figure out everything yourself? Didn’t you have any plans?”
“No,” my pastor friend replied, “I didn’t have any plans, and I figured it all out by myself. Except, that is, for one thing. I could not figure out how to drill that long hole through the beam for the propeller shaft. That was too much.”
Then he told me a fascinating story connected with that problem. God used it to bring a very difficult character into his family. “I had witnessed to one of my neighbors many times, but whatever I would say about Christianity fell on totally deaf ears. This fellow was just not interested. And there was no way I could reach out to him. He was proudly independent. He had been a carpenter all his life—a very skilled carpenter. “When I tried to figure out how to get that hole drilled, the Lord put his name into my mind. I realized at that moment that maybe my neighbor’s greatest need was to be needed! I could ask him if he knew how to drill that long hole for my propeller shaft.
“Wow, what a breakthrough! All the hard shell in my neighbor’s character dropped away when I put myself in a position of needing his services. I offered to pay for his time, of course, but my request to him drew him into my project. Over the next few months we were drawn into a deep friendship. It was that friendship that opened the door of his heart. Since I had dignified him and in that way met his need of being needed, he was profoundly grateful and listened as I shared the message of the Savior with him. He became a faithful and active member of the church.”
This was the same approach Jesus used when he met the Samaritan woman at the well. He recognized that her greatest need was the need to be needed, the need for dignity. He met that need when he asked her for a drink of water. And she was surprised! She could barely believe that a man, a Jewish man, would ask a favor of a woman, especially a Samaritan woman. Jesus dignified her by asking her to help him.
When we think of caring, we almost immediately think of people who need something. Then we give them something even though they might really need the opposite. To really care for people means that we sensitively look for something they have to offer; it means we try to fill their “need to be needed” by asking for a favor that we know a person can do and that this person enjoys doing.
When you ask God to show you how to care, be certain not just to look at what you might give to your neighbor. Also ask God to show you how to dignify your neighbor by allowing him or her to give to you.
Compassionate Lord, I am constantly amazed at the way You teach and train me to connect with people just as they are…and just as I am in all my weakness and inability. Please give me more and more opportunities to dignify the lives of others, and to meet their need to be needed. Give me Your eyes to see the abilities and strengths of my neighbors, family, coworkers and friends who are still living apart from Jesus. May You be glorified in the midst of every relationship I am a part of so that many will be drawn to know the Son of the Living God!
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as the source of everything that is good, holy, just, and beautiful. Thank God for inviting you to remain in him, as a branch remains in the vine, so that you too can produce fruit that is good and holy (Jn. 15:7-8). Confess your failure to “remain in” Jesus, to find your fullness and your satisfaction in him. Be specific about the things that crowd out your desire to abide in him. Commit yourself to finding your fullness in Jesus during this day. Ask him to show you that apart from him you can do nothing (15:5).
Pray that the spiritual leaders of your church will see their need to be abiding daily in Jesus and his Word, constantly in prayer, and completely dependent on him for their ministry.
“Arguments never settle things, but prayer changes things.” —Anonymous
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