My grandma is 87 years old. A few years ago she was forced to begin using a wheelchair because her knees no longer support her body weight. The inside of her home is adequately accessible but she is no longer able to get outside on her own, nor is she able to drive. So occasionally we will go pick her up and take a beautiful drive through the country side, grab some grub and hit the store if needed. It’s quite the adventure!
Yesterday was just such a day. I had a few pit stops of my own to make (and was able to avoid the drive up and not have to haul the boys in!) and then we took a drive in the country. Afterwards we sat in the Wal-Mart parking lot and consumed some brown bag food from Burger King. The company, and the French fries, were good. The rest of the food left something to be desired. When our bellies were (mostly) full we drove up to a handicap parking spot and got ready to head into the store.
The lady in the spot next to us offered the motorized scooter but I declined, telling her it would be good for my six year old son to have the responsibility of pushing.
And push he did. Slowly and patiently down every aisle great-grandma needed. He helped her read labels, he put the items in the cart and best of all, he did not try to drive the wheelchair as though it was a drag race car!
Grandma was so pleased. In fact, after checkout I was pushing the wheelchair and Evan was pushing the cart and she asked us to switch. My guess is I’m a bit too fast for her liking!
When we got to the car Evan helped load and even took all our trash back up to the garbage can. I paid him $1 for his hard work and patience. Two things he struggles with most days!
After we took grandma home, I praised him for doing such a great job. I was most proud because his behavior came out of a simple desire to please and obey. As we talked about the day, he said “Mom, you want to know why I really did it? It was because I knew it would make grandma happy.” And this momma had to keep tears from streaming down her face while she drove.
You see, my six year old has figured out something that still a struggle for many adults. Happiness and joy are found not in serving yourself but in serving others. He didn’t know he was going to get rewarded, he acted simply because it was the right thing to do.
It is a challenge we all face. Can we see outside of ourselves long enough to reach out to others? Do we know that happiness is achieved not by meeting our own needs but by fulfilling the needs of others? The truth is, we can’t live this way on our own, it’s only through the power of Jesus.
So the next time you are faced with the decision to please yourself or please someone else, trying pleasing the other person. Chances are the joy you give them will be returned to you as well.