By David Faust
Larry Monroe is president and CEO of Christian Village Communities, which owns and operates two Christ-centered continuing care retirement communities in the Cincinnati area. One day he exited his Mason, Ohio, office and was walking to a meeting, looking focused and intense. As he passed a resident who was being pushed in a wheelchair, he greeted her with a quick and casual hello. Larry recalls,
As I walked on by, I clearly heard her say to the person pushing her, “He really doesn’t care.” I was stopped in my tracks. I quickly caught up with the resident, knelt beside her wheelchair, took her hand, and asked her to forgive me. My casual greeting had demonstrated to her that I did not really see her in the way she needed me to see her.
Larry says, “I’ll forever be grateful for the lesson she taught me that day. She made me a better leader. I now make a greater effort to truly demonstrate that I care as I interact with people.”
The Great Differentiator
These days, care is rare. How often do you encounter genuine, unselfish concern for others?
Loveless environments result in lackluster experiences, and an “I don’t care” attitude is easy to detect. Have you ever eaten in a restaurant where the servers chat with each other while neglecting the diners? Or shopped in a store where the workers act annoyed if you ask for help? Or attended a party where others ignored you? Or tried to bear a burden too heavy to carry on your own? Or visited a church where no one made any effort to help you feel at home?
The scarcity of kindness creates a huge opportunity for Christians. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Love is the great differentiator. The norm is, “everyone looks out for their own interests” (Philippians 2:21), so unselfish love will set you apart.
His Heart Went Out to Her
A brokenhearted woman led a funeral procession outside the village of Nain. She was a widow, already dealing with the sad memory of her husband’s death. Now it was time to bury another family member—her only son.
Jesus came near to the grieving widow—physically close enough to touch the stretcher where her son’s body lay and emotionally close enough to share her sorrow. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her” (Luke 7:13). After the dead man miraculously came back to life, Luke pointed out tenderly, “Jesus gave him back to his mother” (v. 15).
The hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” reminds us that the Lord is both “merciful and mighty”—merciful enough to care about our sorrows and mighty enough to raise the dead. The raising of the dead man in Nain foreshadows the final resurrection when the Lord will once again reconnect loved ones separated by death.
The Lord specializes in renewing hope and restoring relationships. Meanwhile, he calls us to enter the physical and emotional space of the sad, the broken, the marginalized, and the overlooked. Will we pay attention and listen—really listen? Will we care for our neighbors, visit the sick, comfort the grieving, and pray for the weak? They will know we are Christians by our love.
Personal Challenge: How will you demonstrate the compassion of Christ this week? Suggestions: (1) Make a phone call or write an encouraging note to a widow or widower. (2) Visit someone who resides in a senior living facility. (3) Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor who lives alone.