“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
My last child is getting ready to move out into the world. She’s big into pets and plants. ( I can keep children and pets alive, but plants? Not so much.) So when she leaves, I’m hoping that she takes all the plants with her so that they do not fall victim to my black thumb.
While we were plant shopping in Home Depot, we ran into a friend of mine who was walking her new, little dog in a doggy stroller. The dog is very skittish because it was abused before my friend acquired her so it’s even afraid of my daughter — who is a natural with all animals. But this dog has rescued my friend. Jane, as I’ll call her, lost her job after decades at the same company. She has lost two siblings and both her parents and nursed them all through long, difficult deaths. This skittish dog in the stroller has given Jane a new purpose and lease on life. It’s given her something new to care for.
Watching my daughter care for her plants and her fish tanks, I see the same basic need to fulfill her own life by caring for others. It’s a natural state for most of us. We feel better when we take care of others because it makes us better humans by reflecting what Christ did for us.
Recently, I ran into an acquaintance who has been very selfish his entire life. His needs have always come first and I’ve never known him to do anything kind that he wouldn’t get credit for. This person looked like he’d aged a decade since I’d seen him last and it dawned on me that when we don’t care for others, ultimately, we don’t care for ourselves. Because Jesus wants us to reflect Him and the way we do that is by sacrificing for other people.
I come from a very caring family and seeing the dichotomy between those two people this week really showed me how important it is to care. We love because He first loved us. As long as we’re not talking plants, I’m good with that.
I totally agree, Kristin. Caring for others brings about more compassion within us, and that compassion can keep us healthier as we connect with others. So you’re right, when we care for others we are caring for ourselves.
Great post, being selfish hurts us as much, if not more, as it hurts others. Caring for God’s creations heals us so it’s no wonder why He gave us dominion over the earth…the responsibility gives us purpose and restoration.