when we're care-full, not careful

If I asked you what the most meaningful times in your life have been, what would you say? When was the last time you truly felt satisfied in that "I literally did something that made a difference in someone's life" kind of way? Those are usually the times when we feel like our life is the most meaningful, aren't they?

Jesus said that "you're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for." (Matthew 5:7)

It was about this time last year when a friend of mine tragically died while on vacation with her oldest daughter in Jamaica. One of my good friends decided to go with her husband to Jamaica to go pick up his daughter. You can only imagine... :( My friend going with needed his passport and they were rushing to the airport to try and catch the soonest plane they could, so his wife jumped in the car and started her 45-minute drive to the airport. While on her way, she remembered that she had told her daughters she would drop lunch off for them at school (hoping it would make them feel the slightest bit better since they were incredibly close to our friend who had died). That morning she and I had been texting and I told her to let me know if there was anything I could do. On her way to the airport she called and hung up. So of course, I immediately called her back and asked her if she needed anything. She said she felt badly for asking, but wanted to know if there was any way I could bring the girls their lunches. "Oh my gosh, of course, what do they like?!" I demanded (knowing I couldn't possibly know what teenage girls like these days).

And so it was that I set off for Subway to get the girls their lunches and bring them to school for them. It was the simplest of things, let's be real. But I know that it was a need that I could so easily meet, and I could not have been more happy to help!

My cousin recently asked me and another of our cousins if it's enough to tell people in need that we are praying for them. On the one hand, I believe strongly in the power of prayer and sometimes that is actually all I have to offer. But at other times simply telling someone we are praying for them can be an easy way of getting out of being inconvenienced by someone else's needs... If we're honest, sometimes we play it too safe and try to be careful, instead of "care-full".

Jesus said that it's when we're full of "care" and show it to others (not simply feel it towards them) that we will actually find ourselves cared for. Jesus didn't say that when we do things for others that they'll be done for us in return. No, Jesus makes it clear that when our hearts compel us to care for others, in tangible ways, that we then are cared for in return (and sometimes it's simply our heart that is cared for, but boy is it ever?!).

I didn't bring the girls their lunches that day so that they would bring me my lunch someday. I brought them their lunches because I genuinely care for them and wanted to make sure they were cared for in their time of need (lunch time at a middle school is definitely a time of need...am I right?!). It was literally the least that I could do in the tragic circumstances that were at hand. But in return, I felt that genuine sense of satisfaction deep down in my soul. It was in that moment of being "full of care" that I felt genuinely blessed.

It's a dichotomy I know, but we know that it's true don't we? Some of the most meaningful life experiences we have, where we feel utterly blessed, when our heart feels oh-so-full, are when we're caring for another person's need. Here's to living more care-filled lives...