Like a mother
Before Paul’s conversion he was a thunder-and-lightning kind of guy. He rode roughshod over everything. He did whatever he had to in any way necessary, and if it meant that people who didn’t want to listen had to be killed, he did it.
However, the Paul we get to know in the New Testament is completely different. The hard man became soft and sensitive towards his fellow man. He took his calling seriously. As gently and lovingly as a mother breastfeeding her baby, he took pity on humankind.
You don’t believe me? Well, see what he had to say himself: 7We weren’t aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly.
I remember when my wife breastfed our kids. I could see her love for our children in her eyes. She always bit her lips and then the little one just held on even more tightly. She protected the children with everything she had and made sure that they had everything they needed. She tiptoed when they were sleeping and with the first sound from them, she was right there to see what they needed.
This is how we should feel about the people we come into contact with every day. We must have a heart like Paul who really cared for people. When you care for people like that, you are concerned for their welfare. Then you’re on the lookout to see where you can help, especially when they’re in danger. We must recognise people’s potential and gently help them to develop it.
Like Hennie (not his real name). My friend Johan told me the following story:
Pieter (not his real name) was jailed for 18 years for armed robbery. But one of the wardens, Hennie, saw his potential and a special relationship developed between them. Hennie recognised Pieter’s potential, because he didn’t focus on the reason why Pieter was in jail. He encouraged Pieter to study.
Within the next ten years, Pieter accepted Jesus as his Saviour, passed many Bible School courses, obtained two degrees in finance at Unisa (cum laude), shared the gospel with fellow prisoners, taught maths classes in prison (for which he was awarded a certificate by the WCDE for best results) and much more.
Wow! I get goosebumps all over.
Hennie says that he sees it as his calling to recognise prisoners’ potential and to help them achieve it. Because he really cares. Because he loves his fellow man, despite them being criminals. Like a breastfeeding mother he nurtures and cares for them. He cares for them with everything inside him and he will not allow anything to prevent him from achieving his calling.
The world needs more Hennies. Actually, all Christians should have this calling. Go on, go and be a Hennie there where you are walking through the world today.
Where can you really care today?
Whose potential do you need to help discover?
Whose name pops into your mind when you hear the phrase “care for”?
Father, please help us to take care of one another just as You lovingly and patiently take care of us. Teach us to be soft and helpful and in that way help one another to keep on the right path. Amen.