April 24, 2015 From Intention to Action Kathi Lipp
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Everyone had gone home. It was just me, my husband and my mom cleaning up after the celebration.
The celebration of my dad’s life.
We’d held the memorial service at my church, and then invited everyone back to our tiny house for Italian food and my mom’s homemade cookies (my dad’s favorites.) After the people had left, the three of us spent some time opening the cards that had arrived and looking at the flowers that had been sent.
Tangible reminders. That in our deepest grief, we were loved.
That was six months ago. And I still look at the cards, and remember the people who loved on us in tangible ways.
Yes – there were hundreds of Facebook messages and email. But those cards? The flowers? The people who showed up to serve at my dad’s memorial? Those are the ones that stick with me.
Right after the memorial, I thought about all those people who loved us in tangible ways. How often had I been the person to send the Facebook message? My intentions were good – but that’s all they were. Intentions.
After my dad’s death, I wanted to be the kind of person who didn’t just think about doing the loving thing. I wanted to be the person who moved from intention to action. I wanted to be the person that others saw Jesus in because of my actions. (“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35)
If you are in that space – where your intentions are good, but you don’t write the thank you note, you don’t make the phone call, or bring over the casserole, I get it. I was there too. But the good stuff from Christian community comes when we go beyond ourselves and move from intention to living out the servant love that Jesus taught. Both with his words and actions.
Since my dad’s death, I’ve worked to be sensitive to those people in my life that need that fleshed out encouragement. It is never done perfectly, (I’m sure that each of my notes contains at least one spelling error…) but they are sent. And they are sent with love.
Moving from Intention to action requires a plan. Here is what I did to stop thinking about loving others and got busy doing it.
Pray Pray that God would show you who needs encouragement today. I often find these are friends on Facebook, someone at work, or a neighbor that I may have passed by in the past.
Set Up Systems I have challenged myself to write three notes a day to people in my life. This requires a lot of stamps, some cute stationary, and updated addresses. Prep yourself for the things you need to encourage others – some casseroles in the freezer? A stack of $5 Starbucks cards. Set yourself up.
God has put people in your path. Who needs your encouragement today?
Dear Lord, I want to reflect your love for a hurting world. Give me eyes to see and hand that take action. Always in your name, Jesus.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is the one way you would love to encourage someone in your life today? Tell us specifically so that others can be inspired to their own good works!
More from the Girlfriends
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