“Reaching Out”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, February 28, 2022, comes to us from Donald Greeley of Illinois

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10 NIV

 

“Reaching Out”

A few years ago my family and I were at Cambridge University in England around the time of the annual examinations. As we walked, I saw a student sitting alone on a bench with his head in his hands. I thought about going over to comfort him, but I hesitated, conflicted. Then I walked on by. Could I have made a difference by quietly supporting him in what appeared to be moment of crisis? I will never know, but I regret to this day not going over to sit beside him.


There have been times in my life when I longed for someone to reach out to me. A few weeks after the death of my mother, I was in morning worship feeling sad. I yearned for someone to ask me if I was doing okay because at that moment I was not. I guess my game face fooled everyone because no one asked.


Sometimes we hesitate to reach out to someone for fear of offending them. But by not doing so we also miss the chance to offer comfort and support to those who really want and need it. Time and again Jesus reached out to others, offering healing and acceptance. Reaching out to a hurting person is not easy for me, but I try, inspired by Jesus’ brave examples. I believe that the power of personal connection outweighs any risk.

 

Friends –

Like Donald Greeley, I am hesitant to reach out to comfort people whom I don’t know. While I haven’t done that very often, the few times that I have reached out, the person I sought to help was grateful for the compassion. I do believe that God prompted those moments, and that following Christ empowers us to offer healing and comfort to those who are in need. I invite you to call to mind moments when someone reached out to you when you were hurting. Have there been moments when you were the one reaching out?

--Pastor bea


 
Prayer:

O God, forgive us when we dismiss the needs of others. Thank you for the people who remind us to offer what we can to help those in need. Amen.

--Donald Greeley


Prayer Focus:

Someone waiting for me to Reach Out.


Thought for the Day:

Offering God’s love and comfort to others is worth the risk.