by Marcia Lee Laycock, @MarciaLaycock
It’s one of those questions that plague me when I fall into the trap of believing I’m not doing enough for the Lord. Have I shown enough love to those around me? After all, it is number one on Jesus’ list of things we must do. Paul calls it “the most excellent way” (1 Cor.12:31), and tells us that without it nothing we do matters.
I was pondering this a while ago in regard to my number one activity, writing. Do I love well enough through my work? Should I be doing something else with my time?
Then I remembered a day in a hospital gift shop some time ago. I was stocking a rack with Christian books. A young woman asked me about the flowers in a nearby display case. Her eyes were hopeful but I had to explain that I did not work there. “I’m just here to stock the book rack,” I said. I pointed to two ladies at a nearby counter. “Maybe they can help.”
She nodded, stared at the flower display and sighed. “I’m not really sure what I want.”
I took note of her dress then – a baseball cap pulled over messy hair; a thin pair of pajama bottoms topped by a hospital issue housecoat wrapped around a frail frame; pull-on terrycloth slippers, two sizes too big.
“My friend is dying,” she said, then turned back to me. “I am too.”
I put my clipboard down and waited. Her story unfolded in simple language, the words slipping from her mouth almost as though rehearsed. She reached into a pocket and pulled out a picture of her seven year old daughter. I could see the resemblance. She smiled when I mentioned it and went on to say there was a surgery that she was hoping for. Highly experimental, there was only one doctor in the country who could do it and he just happened to live in a nearby city. But then her voice fell and I had to lean close to hear. Her friend had had the surgery. She was still dying.
The conversation turned to the word hope then. She had hope they would agree to do the surgery, hope that, unlike her friend, she would recover, hope that she would live to watch her daughter grow up. She said a pastor came to visit sometimes and “we say our prayers together. They seem small, just words, but maybe not, eh?” Again that hopeful look in her eyes.
I was praying small prayers right then. She’s so young, Lord. Please. Please.
Then she was gone and I resumed stocking the rack. I do it once a month and in that hospital, the rack is usually almost empty by the time I return. As I filled the pockets with books I was acutely aware of their contents. They hold pages about the love and mercy of Jesus, pages filled with stories of courage and faith, pages of hope and redemption.
I knew I was sent there that day to do much more than just stock the book racks. I was sent there to show a little of God’s love to someone desperate for it. But my job, placing these books where they could be read,also seemed important.
My other job, as a writer, suddenly seemed essential, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving and tell of all thy wondrous works” (Ps. 26:7, KJV).
And yes, love, by doing it.
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Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was shortlisted in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.