There are many people out there that we share our lives with. Some are those we know well - friends that we call on when we need something or need help with our kids or when we are sick or when we are heartbroken or when we have joyful news or when we want to celebrate.
Others are those that we see often and talk to, but they would not be our first phone call when we need to talk - people at church, other parents at school, teachers, neighbors, even church staff members.
Then there are those that you know in passing - grocery clerks, crossing guards, bank tellers, people at church, neighbors. The lists go on and on.
It is easy to serve those we love and are invested in. We are always ready and willing to jump in and help at a moments notice. It is easy to love on them, care for them, do nice things for them. But what about all those other people in your life? How are you serving them? How are you encouraging them?
Paul had a love for people that is beyond comprehension. He had a deep love for people he had never met. He loved and longed to see people he had only met once. He served all of them with all of his being and he encourages us to do the same. He wanted them to know His Lord and Savior and that was his motivating factor.
I Thessalonians 2:9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.
I need to learn more from Paul. I want to love others the way he did. I want to be able to encourage others the way he did. God has given me many people to love and nurture. I love to serve and love on those I know, but I want to serve those other people in my life too.
As I strive to serve others, I challenge you to do that same thing. I am searching for ways to encourage and serve others. It could be as simple as writing a note to express your appreciation for what they do. It could be a kind word when it seems to be a hard day. It could be that you make yourself available to change your plans to do something for another person - run an errand, buy them lunch, take them for coffee and be a listening ear. Be listening for God's direction this week.
I John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love His brother also.