“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
—Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
We were on our way home from a missions trip to help workers in Paris. My mind was still in the habit of looking for people from a specific people group after two weeks of doing so as we walked the city streets. Across the airplane aisle, I noticed a young mother from the same people group juggling a preschooler and a baby. She was alone and exhausted.
Mind you, the flight from France is so very long. I wondered how this mother would be able to manage the necessary entertaining, feeding, caring for, cleaning up after, and corralling of such young girls. She only had one lap!
I made eye contact, smiled at the baby, and waved at the little girl. I showed kindness across the aisle. She spoke French; I knew just enough French to get in trouble. And we came from belief systems and home countries that were literally worlds apart. But I knew God sat me near her for a reason.
Eventually I noticed her glancing toward the restrooms. Those tiny cubicles are barely large enough to turn around in. She had a baby AND a preschooler. There was no room for all three.
I wanted to offer help. So, I smiled and I held out my hands toward the baby. I stumbled with my French words, but really had no idea how to tell her I would hold the baby. After we exchanged gestures, she handed me her baby and walked her preschooler to the bathroom.
Now what? You know what. God helped me entertain a precious baby who knew I was not her mother and could barely speak a word she recognized. But we smiled and laughed. She played with my necklace and drooled on my shirt. It was only a few minutes, but I was happy that God caused me to be aware of what was going on around me. It was a blessing to offer kindness and compassion to someone I couldn’t even talk to.
What is going on around you? I admit that sometimes I have a seek-and-find mentality: get in and get out (with what I’m searching for). I am usually not paying attention to the people around me and only focus on my goal. Is that how God really wants me to go out in the world?
I don’t think so. I believe that God has filled us with the hope of Jesus and wants us to be ready for opportunities to reach out, share our hope, and offer kindness and compassion to the people we encounter. Let’s focus on our surroundings and the people in them as we go about our lives this week, this month, this year. God is more than able to put us where He wants us so we can share Jesus.
Lord, Thank You for the hope we have in Jesus. Open our eyes and our hearts as we go about our daily lives to see the ones you would have us reach out to. Help us to not be distracted by our busy lives, but ready for the opportunities You provide. Lead us to offer kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to our preschoolers, their families, and the precious people who surround us. In Your name, amen.
Angie Quantrell is the editor for WMU preschool resources.