Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 2, 2017

nothing you do for the Lord is useless

It happened two Fridays ago, and I am still aggravated with myself. The source of my irritation was a momentary emotional response. One of the participants in our Friday Bible Study had stopped to get coffee at a local Dunkin’ Donuts. While getting his coffee, Ritchie encountered a homeless man who had missed his bus. It was 6a.m. and Ritchie, being kind, bought the man coffee and a donut as they chatted. Somewhere in the conversation, the homeless man asked Ritchie if he could come to the Bible Study. Ritchie felt he should honor the request, so he loaded the man in his car, and entered a secured building with his new-found friend.

One of our attendees mentioned there was a homeless man coming to our study. As the leader of this BIBLE STUDY, my less-than-spiritual emotional response was, “Ritchie, what in the world are you doing?” Thank goodness I did not verbalize my first thoughts. Immediately, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my wretched Pharisee kind of attitude. How quickly we judge.  How quickly we forget what Christ has done for us and move from giving money to homeless shelters to avoiding the very lives of those they serve.  How quickly … how easily!

Yet this story is not only about the homeless man and his deeply wounded life. He came to the study, stayed awhile, then Ritchie took him on his way. It is also about Ritchie and his sensitivity to what he believed the Lord wanted him to do. My wife often talks to me about listening to the gentle nudges from the Lord and then acting on them. After leaving our study, Ritchie took the man to his home, found several articles of clothing to give him, and eventually dropped the man off … probably to never see him again.

This interaction struck me in different ways. Mainly, it reminded me of how quickly my (our) attitude can be less than spiritual, but also how important it is to be sensitive to loving others in the moment … even, and especially, when it is inconvenient. Ritchie simply modeled the attitude and life of Christ.  After the interaction, while doing some reading in I Corinthians 15, I viewed a particular verse in a new light.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
I Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

My focus has always landed on the first part of the verse. But, this time, the last phrase caught my attention in light of what my friend Ritchie did for His Lord. The words, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless, are true.  We serve a risen Savior, and that makes everything we do for Him useful.  And even if the homeless man never fully understands how he was loved that day, Ritchie’s efforts were not useless, especially to me and the men in our study.  And I am sure Ritchie’s sensitivity to promptings (nudges) from the Spirit has been heightened.

You may find it easier to give to those who are hurting, rather than getting personally involved. It doesn’t have to be a homeless man at 6am on a Friday. It could be a family member whose life is out-of-sorts, a work associate with alcohol problems, or a friend who has made bad choices. My purpose is not to tell you how to help, but to simply say, if the Father nudges you, listen and act.  You can be sure that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  Thanks Ritchie!


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