POINTS TO PONDER

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Have you ever heard someone, possibly yourself, say, “I don’t care what they think!”  Psychologist Fredric Neuman tells us that the degree to which someone cares about what others think depends – or should depend – on the nature of their relationship.

It all boils down to whether or not caring for someone is a meaningful effort. In fact, Judith E. Glaser of Conversational Intelligence says, it gives the person you care about a feeling of celebration and helps meet people’s needs for inclusion, innovation, appreciation, and association.

But there is another side to caring. Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass [of people], I will never act. If I look at the one, I will,” Writer and editor Tiffanie Wen says it exemplifies one of the most baffling aspects of the human caring about the plight of others. While most of us will see a single death as a tragedy, we can struggle to have the same response to large-scale loss of life. Too often, the deaths of many simply become a statistic. The thousands who were killed in the Twin Tower Trade Center demolition by terrorists and the millions of lives lost in natural disasters, wars, or famine, can grow too large for one person to fathom.

So, instead of trying to care for the masses, begin with caring for someone who needs you, who respects you, and will benefit significantly from your caring touch. That’s how God feels about us. The Bible says that Jesus died for the whole world,[1] but not to save them all at one time. He died so He could redeem them one at a time. Listen to this story about God’s love:

On March 10, 1748, John Newton, a 22-year-old English seaman who had worked in the slave trade, was traveling home on a merchant ship after a series of misadventures, including being captured and enslaved in Sierra Leone. On that day, a violent storm struck just off the coast of Donegal, Ireland. Rocks ripped a hole in the side of the ship, and it seemed unlikely that the vessel would make it safely to shore. A young seaman named John remembered his Christian upbringing and prayed and committed to devote his life to Christianity if God spared the ship. At that moment – the story goes – the ship’s cargo shifted, covering the hole and allowing the ship to limp to port. John Newton kept his promise, eventually becoming an Anglican priest. Most famous perhaps for composing the hymn “Amazing Grace,” the former slave trader dedicated himself to ending the slave trade. That’s how much God cared about his soul.

Jesus told the story of a despised Samaritan stopping to help a robbed and beaten Jew. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ [2]

Then there was the occasion when Jesus was at the house of his friend Lazarus. His sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him talk. But all that went into the preparation of the upcoming meal distracted Martha from following Mary’s example. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”[3]

The Apostle Paul was writing his first letter to the Corinthians and telling them that like arms, hands, legs, feet, etc., are all part of one frame, so they are all members of one body of the Anointed One. So, if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. When one part of the body receives care, the other parts are happy.[4]

In his second letter, he apologized if he was too tough on them in the first letter, but any sorrow they experienced was on purpose. He tells them, I wrote as I did so the Lord could show how much you care for us. That was my purpose even more than to help the man who sinned or his father to whom he did the wrong.[5]

But the Apostle was not finished. He congratulated them on the way they helped out by providing resources for the churches in Macedonia, how much joy it brought them during troubled times. But Paul regretted that he couldn’t be with them, so he sent his close associate Titus to be there and help. And, says Paul, I thank God that He gave Titus the same care to help you.[6]

Paul had the same concerns about the church in Philippi. So, he told them he was sending his son in the Lord, Timothy, to be with them. Said Paul, I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.[7] Later in the same Epistle, Paul sends them words of encouragement. He wants them to continue being a partner in the ministry the Lord gave him. So, he lets them know, the Lord gives me a reason to be full of joy. It is because you can care for me again. I know you wanted to before, but you did not have a way to help me.[8]

In these verses, the Scriptures show us the many ways of caring. The Apostle Peter lets us know that we should give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about us.[9] So if God cares that much about us, and we love our neighbor as ourselves, should we not care for them the same way? Remember, by caring; you can be like the Good Samaritan and help pick somebody up and help get them back to good health in mind, heart, and spirit, just by caring. – Dr. Robert R Seyda


[1] 1 John 2:2

[2] Luke 10:34-35

[3] Ibid. 10:40

[4] 1 Corinthians 12:26

[5] 2 Corinthians 7:12

[6] Ibid. 8:16

[7] Philippians 2:20

[8] Ibid. 4:10

[9] 1 Peter 5:7

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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