Power In The Details
To notice people, to encourage them, to complement them, to help them, to lift their burdens, and without being asked to do so, this is one of the great secrets of being a blessing.
And hello, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right today? Bless your heart. I’m glad to be back with you. We’re looking at Romans chapter 15. He said, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” This is a result of the reasoning you found in Romans 14 as we walked through it. And so the whole idea is if there’s somebody who differs with you in matters of the incidentals of the Christian faith, the matters of procedure, matters of what to do or not to do, and that sort of a thing, matters that make you officially religious, let us say, you find somebody who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart but who differs with you on procedures, don’t argue with him — love him and receive him.
Let the Spirit of God lead the person along until he’s stronger in the Christian faith remembering that this person belongs to the Lord and is responsible to God and is going to have to stand with you at the judgment seat of Christ. And so the real concern is are you encouraging him? Are you building him up? Are you showing him Christian love? Are you making him a better person? Every person, I tell our students here at the college, every person you ever meet will be better off or worse after you have met him or her depending on the impact that you have upon that life.
Every person you ever meet will be different in some way because you came along. God grant that the people we meet will be better people because of having met you and me. Amen. So that is the thrust then of the truth that we have in Romans 14 and he says, “Now, as a result of that, specialize in bearing the infirmities of those that may be weaker spiritually than you and the way you do this is to please them.” Interestingly enough, he says, not lecture to them. He didn’t say let everyone of us lecture his neighbor or teach his neighbor or scold his neighbor or guide his neighbor, or Let me show you what to do. Oh, no. He said, “Please his neighbor”.
People respond in a learning situation to that which pleases them. Have you noticed that? People respond in a learning situation to that which pleases them. Here’s somebody that is disagreeable, let us say. Now, he is a brother in Christ. You know that you’re going to be in heaven together but sometimes you just can’t stand him and he can’t stand you because you differ on some matters or maybe the chemistry of your personality just doesn’t jive. Have you ever thought of applying a verse like this in situations where there’s somebody who is disagreeable? He’s been born, as we say, in the accusative case and he just doesn’t like anything you do and you seem to disagree on procedural matters all the time.
Have you ever thought of specializing in pleasing a person? I told you a while back at what Dr. Walter Wilson said to a young homemaker who asked him what to do about her father-in-law who made his home with the young couple. And he was a wicked old man and disagreeable and he just hated the sight of his daughter-in-law although he lived in the home and ate at their table. He was handicapped and had to be in a wheelchair. And so it was a difficult assignment and she asked Dr. Walter Wilson one time. She said, “Dr. Wilson, how can I win my father-in-law to Christ?
Well, he said, “Has he got any dishes that he particularly likes to eat?” “Oh,” she said, “Yes.” “Well, he told her, “Take something that is his favorite dish and prepare it for him and then bring him a helping of it and look at him and say ‘Grandpa, I love you.’ See what will happen.” “She was back to the meetings a day or so later with her arm in a bandage and tears in her eyes and she said, “Look what happened.” She said, “I fixed him his favorite dish and brought a helping to him and he knocked it out of my hand and burned me and he said he wanted nothing to do with me and so on.”
And the tears were coming in her eyes. Well, she wanted to know “What could I do now?” And Dr. Wilson said, “Try it again.” Reluctantly, it must be admitted but willing to try again, she went back to the situation and tried again the same thing, and now she was back to the meetings that were being held in that area where Dr. Wilson was the speaker. Now, she came back again in a day or so. And this time, all smiles. She said, “I was standing at the kitchen stove there in the farmhouse kitchen and I heard a sound behind me and there was my father-in-law in his wheelchair and he was crying and he said, ‘Mary, I’m such a big sinner. Would you pray for me?’”
Well, she did and he took Christ as his savior. And the domestic weather changed, you may be sure. Now, I can’t tell you that it will always work that way, beloved. You know that. I can’t tell you it will always work that way but I can tell you that if you make a special effort to please anybody, you’re more likely to be of help and blessing to him or her and the truths that you especially hold dear in Scripture are more likely to come across to a person like that. You understand what I mean? To lecture somebody makes them raise their defenses but if you specialize in pleasing them, the truth that you’re trying to get across does get across somehow because their hearts and minds are open to you as a person.
Oftentimes people reject our Savior because they are against us as the bearers, so to speak, of that good news. And if you will specialize in being the kind of person that someone else feels comfortable with and appreciates, your gospel message is far more apt to be received willingly. Do you follow me in that? “Let everyone of us please his neighbor,” means specialize in doing the kind and thoughtful and gracious things that help and encourage other people. You know how it feels to be left out of acknowledgments. For instance, you knocked yourself out to do, let us say, the table decorations at the church annual dinner.
Some dear ladies spent dozens of hours making these beautiful table decorations and then putting the fresh flowers into the centerpiece and getting everything just so. And so when they had the dinner, the chairman thanked those who cooked the meal and thanked those who wrote the annual report and left you out — never mentioned the decorations. Well, now, you know that you are doing it for the Lord but you just felt hurt, didn’t you, because they left you out? Maybe some thoughtful soul set a note up to the head table to remind the master of ceremonies, and he said, “Oh, yes. We don’t want to forget Mrs. So and so did the table decorations, and we are very grateful. Let’s all give her a hand.”
Well, that helps a little but it still rankles that he forgot you. Well, you know how you and I feel when we’re not appreciated properly. So let’s be specialists in appreciating folk. “Please” and “Thank you” are wonderful words. We ought to use them oftener. “I am proud of you,” five important words. Sometimes when I see someone’s picture in the paper, I’ll cut out the picture from the paper and paste it on a postcard and address it to that same person and under it, I’ll put the words “I am proud of you,” and then use his or her name.
Why? Well, because we like to have somebody know that we amount to something and somebody appreciate us for what we’re trying to do, isn’t it true? Now, that’s what Paul is talking about. It’s a very common horse sense kind of a concept that just happens to have spiritual value. “Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good and his building up in the faith.” People learn about your faith when they’re pleased with your conduct. Had you thought about that? People evaluate your Savior on the basis of how they feel about you. I’m going to repeat that because it’s so important. People evaluate your Savior – the Lord Jesus – on the basis of how they feel about you. Why? Because the only Jesus they’ll ever see is the one they see in your life.
The only Scripture that many of them will ever read is the Scripture they see portrayed in your life. That’s why Paul says “Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good.” Do something good today for somebody, something unexpectedly good, not because you’re expected to do it but just on impulse. Obey. I have a little book here on my desk somewhere entitled “Try Giving Yourself Away.” And in it there’s a phrase like this: Obey that generous impulse. You feel like doing something special for somebody, do it before you forget it.
Write a letter of appreciation, send a box of candy or a flower to somebody or whatever it may be obey that generous impulse even – the man goes on to write – even if it is so small a thing as passing a little girl sitting on the front steps of her home one morning as you walk on your way to work and she’s got on a freshly ironed little dress and her hair is combed and there’s a hair ribbon in her hair and she’s as pretty as can be, you look at her and smile and say “My! Don’t you look pretty this morning!” She’ll remember that all day long.
To notice people, to encourage them, to complement them, to help them, to lift their burdens, and without being asked to do so, this is one of the great secrets of being a blessing to other folk because you do it on behalf of the Galilean who has nail holes in His hands and feet. “Even Christ,” said he, “pleased not Himself.” And He told us, our Savior did, “If you do this in my name, you won’t like your reward. You even give a cup of cold water to somebody, in my name; you’ll get your reward. You take care of one of my little ones,” he said, “you’re taking care of me.”
So the truth is there, a profound and important truth that you and I as we walk through any given day need to be on the lookout for ways to help and to encourage, yes, to please other people. Why? Because they‘ll learn about our Savior faster when they see Him portrayed in the kind of conduct we have, all right?
Dear Father today, help us to be people who encourage and help others for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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