In last week’s episode 38, I shared listener responses to the question I raised in an earlier email to our listeners about the verse from Hebrews 10:24, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” My question was HOW do you do this, which elicited some great responses.
Another one came in just the other day from a missionary I’ll share in just a minute. But more than that, over the past few months listeners have responded to other relationship issues, and today I want to share those with you.
Going back to our first episode in November 2018, I mentioned that one of the reasons to listen to this podcast is that it’s intended to be a community for people of faith interested in transforming their relationships into the best they can be.
The goal is to make the podcast format interactive, where we learn from each other, and where we support and encourage one another.
To that end, I find that I am encouraged in dealing with my relationships when I see how other people are doing it. I’m guessing the same is true for you, too.
So, to finish off that question of HOW do we motivate one another to acts of love and good works, here’s a response from Devri, a missionary who served in Turkey with her husband Dan for 28 years, and now for the last 6 in Cyprus. Here is what she said:
“Dan and I have been working with a group of children, at one time 15, now just 6, due to people getting married and moving on. When the children were turning up on our doorstep, we opened the door and embraced them. We taught them how to shoot bows and arrows, how to swim, and how to make pizza!
“There were many times it was exhausting work, but each time they came we taught them something more about living life in the light of God. For example, when two children were being especially mean to each other, I took them into my room. I asked them if they would be saying the things they were saying if they saw the father of the person they were being mean to. Both said an emphatic “NO!”
“From there it was easy to transition to the truth that whatever they said was in front of the One who made the person they were criticizing. He made them, loved them, and did not enjoy seeing them spoken to so poorly. When the two left the room they were quiet.
“As we returned to the crowd of other children the brother of one of the children said, “Don't worry, we have it all planned. We will have a group at school beat him up on Monday.” The girl's response to her brother was, “It has been dealt with.”
“Years have passed from that day. The last day I saw that girl she said to me, “Don't worry, I remember the lessons you taught us: Give thanks in all things; it is better to give than to receive; forgiveness frees the one who forgives, and Jesus is our Shepherd.” This meant so much to me.
“These words were spoken by a girl who had been raped by her father. She was in a safe house and planning to leave it as soon as she turned 18. I may never see her again, but I will not regret those days I opened my home and my heart to her and all the other friends that came pouring in.
“The LORD has since opened a door for me to teach these same lessons to the children in an orphanage in a nearby city. I now have 40 children to encourage to acts of love and good works!
“And I am so grateful to you, John, for the words that encourage me to do better at loving those around me intentionally.
- Last week the examples I shared of motivating others to love and good works were about reinforcing good behavior and attitudes we see in people. Devri’s comments today are about correcting bad behavior. There’s room for both in motivating others to love and good works.
- I’m struck by the level of trust that Devri and Dan developed with those kids. It started with “we opened the door and embraced them. We taught them how to shoot bows and arrows, how to swim, and how to make pizza!”
- What they were doing was certainly sacrificial service to those kids
- She gave them a reason to love and do good works in a way they could understand at their developmental stage as children. She helped them connect the dots between their relationship with their peers, and their relationship with God. She helped them see that the antagonists in their life were deeply loved by God, and that since He loved them, they should too, at the level they were capable of at that age.
- I was also struck by the tender response of the girl to Devri who said, “Don't worry, I remember the lessons you taught us: Give thanks in all things; it is better to give than to receive; forgiveness frees the one who forgives, and Jesus is our Shepherd.” I can easily picture Devri’s eyes welling with tears over this affirmation of the profound impact she had on this girl. What valuable lessons this girl learned from Devri.
- In bringing out the best in this girl, Devri brought out the best in herself.
Moving on, here are two in response to episode 32 that kicked off Season Two, “What am I Here for? What is my purpose in Life?
“John, thank you for the wonderful podcast. I particularly enjoyed learning about Ben Franklin and the Junto Society. It may sound silly, but it gave ME a sense of hope knowing THAT he was someone instrumental in founding the place WE Call home. He sounds like someone who’s friendship I would have liked TO have. Looking forward to further episodes!” ~ Amy
- Ben Franklin not feeling the love in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, and moving to Boston upon returning from England at the age of 21.
- He didn’t know a soul and started the Junto Society, or “Leather Apron Club” as it was sometime called.
- It is reassuring at times to think about where we have come from as a nation and the people we have produced.
- Here’s the 2nd response to episode 32,
Thanks so much for starting up the podcast again.. This last one was really helpful. [This is in reference to the “I” in T.H.I.S. – Initiate]
One thing that I tried with both of my parents and my grandmother was listening to them and trying to to find something that we were able to connect to which eventually became our thing. It became a great blessing to me to find a common ground where we could develop a relationship of trust and fun as adults. I miss some of that as all have passed to eternity.
I appreciate so much your ability to succinctly say what I am sometimes doing. It helps me label it. Thank you that you are living out what you were made for. ~ Cindy
- I love how Cindy initiated with people much older than she was – her parents and grandparents, and asked them questions to bond with them over something that became “our thing.”
- With two our grandsons here in town, “our thing” has become going to Chick-fil-A. At least for the moment. They’ll go at a drop of a hat. In a recent visit I commented to them both how much I appreciated how they often ask me questions. I encouraged them to do the same with their parents.
- Like Cindy, both of my parents are deceased, yet I still have questions that only they could answer. But they’re not here any more. I must confess, it gnaws at me sometime. I should have asked them more questions before it was too late.
Next, here’s a text I received from Karen, a missionary, good friend, and listener to the podcast:
“I have your podcast card on my counter so I see it every day. ‘At the end of the day, NOTHING MATTERS MORE than Relationships’. I get to MC our Golden Agers Day., I”m going to use that! Because I feel that group of people understand that – they’re past the days of climbing the corporate ladder, or making a name for themselves, or how big of a house they have or what kind of car they drive. For them it really comes down to relationships….well, and maybe their health!! It’s one of my favorite days of our ministry year.
I can see why Karen would love being with this group, people who have nothing more to prove to anyone.
Finally, here’s an email I received from Rebecca, a missionary who has been serving in Indonesia for many years. She responded to episode 20, “Relating with People Who Talk Too Much.”
“I’ve listened to several of your podcasts and made a handout with the questions for dealing with people that annoy you. I’ve given it to several people including a missionary who was in our home on Sunday night.
Many blessings to you as you continue to assist people in living in more healthy ways!
From Episode 20, Rebecca complied a list of 15 questions I mentioned that a person can ask them self when they are in a relationship with a difficult person. I will post these sometimes soon on my website, but you can get all of it now on the podcast episode, number 20, “Relating with People Who Talk Too Much”
Well here is my takeaway from today’s episode. What I learned today
We have some really wise people listening to this podcast. People I can learn from. People very different from me. The more I hear what they are thinking and what is on their heart, the wiser I will become.
And so will you.
Before I close, here’s the he main take-away from today’s episode, our show in a sentence
We can draw encouragement from others when we see what they are doing to transform their relationships into the best they can be.
Here’s what you can do in response to today’s show
You could ask God if there’s a person much younger than you that he wants you to invest yourself in. It could be a child or someone a generation or two behind you. And then do something similar to what Devri and her husband did, to build trust and then impart the wisdom you’ve acquired.
You could also ask God if there’s a much older person he wants you to connect with. Like Cindy and Karen did in today’s episode. Someone from whom you could draw wisdom. Someone with a story that would encourage you.
Now for our Relationship Quote of the Week
From the lessons our missionary friend Devri taught children many years ago:
Give thanks in all things; it is better to give than to receive; forgiveness frees the one who forgives, and Jesus is our Shepherd.
Thanks for listening in today to hear from your fellow listeners. I sure enjoyed it, I hope you did too. I’d love to hear from more of you as to how you are dealing with the relationships in your life. You can keep it anonymous if you want.
But the main thing is we can all use a bit of encouragement these days, and that encouragement could come from you as we learn how to best reflect the character of God in our relationships.
Because after all, You Were Made for This!
Well, that’s all for today. See you next week. Bye for now.
Resources mentioned in today’s show
Episode 38: Motivating Others to Love and Good Works
Episode 20: Relating with People Who Talk Too Much