Suppose you have a birthday coming up. What is the one question everyone asks you? You know what it is, What do you want for your birthday? When it is our birthday, most of us start thinking weeks ahead of our birthday for that perfect gift. We may hint about the gift to our family and friends or just blurt out what we really want.
Let me tell you about a man who has taken a different approach to his birthday celebration. Instead of focusing on what he can get for his birthday he decided to give. Bob Blackley, from North Carolina, spends his birthday standing at an intersection giving away money. He does it every year. This year Bob celebrated his 59th birthday by standing at a busy street corner holding a cardboard sign that reads:
I have a home,
I have a job,
Could you use an extra $5.00?
Bob passed out $800 dollars to 160 people who drove by.
What a different perspective than the one pervasive in our culture. In a world of what’s in it for me, Bob looks at how he can celebrate by serving others.
I am reminded of someone else who lived an earthly life of service…Jesus. Remember the time when Jesus learned about the death of John the Baptist? The Book of Matthew tells us that Jesus went to a quiet place to be alone but the crowds still followed Him. Jesus couldn’t find any peace and quiet. His disciples told Jesus to send the crowds away so they could go and buy food. That would give Jesus a chance for the solitude He wanted. Rather than an inward, selfish focus, the scriptures tell us that Jesus was concerned for the people in the crowd and fed them. In fact, He fed them in a miraculous way. With five loaves and two fish Jesus fed over 5,000 people that day. No inward focus for Jesus but rather a deep concern for others.
Am I saying don’t enjoy your birthday and the gifts you receive? Of course not. What I am saying is don’t forget in all you do to focus on serving others. There are a lot of folks who are struggling daily and just need you, through your actions, to remind them that Jesus loves them. You can show that love of Christ in a tangible way by simply focusing on others.