One of the best things we can do for a person is solve their pressing problem.
On Friday, I stood there dumbfounded and caught off guard. As I drove up the wooded driveway in my parent's New York state home heading to pick up my son, I confront a huge tree blocking the way.
The tree smiles and taunts me almost to say, "Here I am . Now what ya gonna do?"
The storm has done more than blown up a few waves on the lake, it created a honking obstacle in my plan to pick my son up a few miles away and move about freely. I was:
1. Surprised. That wasn't there just a bit ago!
2. Powerless. No way I can move that thing and there's no way the car can get over it!
3. Stuck. I can't get out and have to turn back. The storm created a disruption in my life and plans. Feeling of stress. Challenge. Frustration.
In defeat, I back down the driveway and report to those in the house, "I can't get out. There's a huge, huge tree that fell across the driveway. We can't get out!"
I started to picture the consequences of being stuck in the house - of others not being able to get in or out... of working all day to saw and cut that thing . Ugh.
Seconds later, there's a knock on the door
Standing there smiling is a husky, muscle-bound 20-something man I've only seen a few times.
"Hi Mr. Caliguire. I'm Jake Smith. I was driving by and noticed there's a huge tree in your driveway. It must have come down in the storm. Would you want to hire me to cut it up and get rid of it? My dad has a brand new chainsaw and I can cut up that thing for you?"
My response: "Wow! Yes, Jake! Thank you! You're a life saver! When can you do it?" Confidently Jake responds, "I'll have it gone and stacked in 15 or 20 minutes."
I think Jake was almost surprised by my easy purchase enthusiasm!
You see: I knew I had a problem.
Jake had two things I didn't.
1. The tools! Jake's was a chainsaw. What tools do you have?
2. Confidence. He knew he could do something about it.
You and I also have these things. We too have things others need. Tools. And when we actually use the tools God has given us, we feel confident. Nothing to apologize about there!
However, what's lacking sometimes for many of us is the third thing that Jake had:
3. Willingness! Jake walked down the driveway and asked, "Would you want to hire me??"
And when Jake finished cutting up the tree, he smilingly showed knocked on the door again with a personal invitation to inspect his work and our new pile of firewood neatly stacked in the driveway. Problem solved.
So, why should you care about my problem and Jake's solution?
Because Jake did something that you and I could, can and should do regular.
1. NOTICE the problems others have. See the "fallen tree" in someone else's yard and see them as standing in their way.
External things like trees down, cars broken, homes leaking and finances in a shambles...
Internal things like anxiety, stress, broken relationship, frustration, pain...
2. NOTE the tools and resources you possess to do something that solves their problems.
Your specialized tools
Your past experiences
3. KNOCK and ask if you can help them! They'll be thrilled when we solve their problems.
But nothing happens without a knock!
Of course they may say "no." But when you connect your real solution with their real problem - there's a celebration on the other side! I was ecstatic that the problem was solved 15 minutes later!
And Jake received BOTH a big smile from his accomplishment and $75 in 15 minutes of labor!
And a new stack of fresh firewood as bonus!
1. What problems do others have now that are weighing them down, holding them back of keeping them stuck? (at least the one's you notice?)
2. What tools do you have that can be used to help them and change their situation?
3. What will you do to knock and let them know you want to help?
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