“God’s love for us gives us the reason to encourage others. God’s love in us gives us the ability to encourage others. God’s love through us gives us the way to encourage others.” John Maxwell
Many of us, who have any familiarity with the game of football, have probably witnessed a player fumble the ball at an inopportune time in a game which often negatively affects the outcome of the game. The ball carrier was given the responsibility to see something through to conclusion and he failed. This scenario is the background for the saying “dropped the ball”. This saying can have various usages including letting someone down, missing the opportunity to do something for someone, being insensitive to another’s need and not following through on promises made.
In our relationships, “dropping the ball” often leads to an erosion of trust which is just like when a coach can lose faith in a player who has a reputation for being a fumbler.
No one likes to have another person “drop the ball” in their relationship but for those who are hurting, struggling or suffering being “dropped” can be devastating. Charles Swindoll in his devotional Mercy for the Miserable sums up what is needed in the lives of those who all too often feel “dropped.”
He writes, “Mercy is a concern for people in need. It has to do with assisting those less fortunate than ourselves, including those who suffer the consequences of disappointment, disease, and distress. One of my mentors used to say, ‘Mercy is God’s ministry to the miserable.’ And it does not stop with compassion or sadness over someone in dire straits; it means identifying with those who are hurting and imagining the pain they are having to endure, and doing something about it… It’s not simply some feeling of sympathy or sadness over somebody in trouble, but really getting inside the other person’s skin, feeling what they feel, understanding their misery, and then helping them through it.”
We all need to focus on being people of our word and to be known as vessels of God’s mercy to those who are hurting around us rather than being one who has the reputation for “dropping the ball”.
“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:18 (NIV)
Reflections on DROPPED THE BALL
Some people do not have the spiritual gift of mercy BUT that does not mean that God does not expect all of us to show mercy to others. In Colossians 3:12, we are told “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Our spiritual wardrobe for each day should include compassion and kindness. When He walked on this earth, Jesus was moved daily by the needs of others. He responded to spiritual needs for unconditional love and forgiveness, as well as physical needs for food and even healing. Jesus responded as God the Father led Him. Although He did not respond to every single need in the world at that point, Scripture tells us that Jesus perfectly fulfilled God’s plan for Him.
God never commands us to do something that He does not also enable us to do. When we are tempted to ignore the needs of others, God will give us the grace we need to minister in His name. The key is to walk with the Lord minute by minute. God’s very nature is Love and Mercy and when we are empowered by His Holy Spirit, we are his conduit. When we get out of the way, God can minister through us.
Are you asking God to fill you with His compassion and kindness every morning?
He is waiting to fill you and then use you. If you seek His leadership every day, you will not be “dropping the ball.” Instead you will be in the “thick of the game” and fulfilled as you watch God work through you in amazing new ways.
Prayer for the hurting person:
Please help those who are hurting to be able to forgive those who have dropped the ball in their life in the past. Help them to receive the love and forgiveness that You want to enable them to both give to others and accept for themselves. Heal their hearts from past hurts when others have let them down. May Your love be so real to them right now that they can trust You to be enough for whatever they may need in the future. Please send them friends who will not drop the ball.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
Please help me to confess and accept Your forgiveness for all the times in the past that I have dropped the ball in my relationships. Please give me a desire to be a steadfast friend to others in this life journey. Help me to stay in Your word daily and communicate with you frequently in prayer so that I can be sensitive to Your leading. Lord, thank You that You Never drop the ball! Thank You that You are perfect in all Your ways. I claim Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things because You will strengthen me.” Help me to be a true and loyal friend to those You place in my life. Help me not to promise things that You are not leading me to do so that I can follow Your leadership in the tasks that You have planned for me to do. Thank You for having a plan that is for my good and for the good of all of my friends who have chosen to commit their lives to You as Lord. Help me to do what You want me to do instead of asking You to bless my own plans. Thank You that Your plans are perfect. Help me to walk in Your ways.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.