Take 5! Copyright 2016 Ellen Mongan, All rights reserved.

Do you have the time? Do you have the time to do lunch? Do you have the time to watch my child? Do you have the time to . . . ?

Many of my conversations with my family or friends begin with those five words. Do you have the time? As moms we may feel like we have so much to do and no time to do it in. Taking the time for another’s need involves a little sacrifice, sometimes inconvenience, a portion of patience, and a lot of grace. However, by taking time out from an already busy day, you could bring another closer to Jesus. It may be God’s way of using you as disciple. Your “yes” could surely bless another.

Jesus used parables to make a point. This little story may help you see clearly why.

There were five men who were running to catch a bus to get to work one morning. On their way they passed a blind man who was selling pencils. Just as they passed by, they noticed that the blind man unfortunately dropped all his pencils. So what did the five men do? They kept running, all but one man. What did he do? He stopped and bent down to pick up the pencils. As the friends looked back, they noticed him stopping to help. Frantically the four men shouted, “Come on, hurry, we do not have time. You will miss the bus!”

The fifth man motioned them to go on as he said, “It will be all right. I will just catch the next bus.” Without missing a beat, the kind man continued to pick up the pencils.

The blind man inquired, “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” replied the man.

Perplexed, the blind man questioned, “Who are you? Are you Jesus, because you are the kindest man I ever met?” You see, even though the man was blind he could see enough to detect the love in the kind man’s heart. Maybe this fifth man was the only one who had ever showed the blind man compassion. How many had run by him, not noticing his need?

I have a question for you: Who are you in this story? Are you one of the four men who did not stop to help? Are you the blind man in need of assistance? Or are you the man who stopped and noticed another human with a need for help? Sometimes it only takes five minutes to stop and pick up the pencils in someone else’s life, or are you too busy to notice? Each of us has the same 24 hours in a day; how do you spend yours? Do you take the time to care, or do you let life rush by, doing your “thing”?

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The year was 2012. I will never forget the tragic incident that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. With a mother’s heart I prayed fervently for the families affected. As a mom who too had lost a child, I wept. The years have come and gone, but what lessons we learn from the unsung heroes who picked up more than the pencil. Their eyes were clear and focused on the innocent children, not themselves. Teachers bravely protected them and tried to calm their fears. One teacher’s quick thinking found safety in a storage room for the class under her care. Miraculously, all had the self-control to be still, which saved their lives.

How can you pick up someone’s “pencils” in 2017?

How about making 2017 the year to “take five”? Try one of these:

1. Pause five minutes several times a day to think of Jesus with prayer, journaling, or read scripture.

2. Write down five things you are thankful for each day.

3. Write down five ways you can make a difference each day.

4. Write down five things you will do for yourself each day.

5. Take five minutes each night to pause and examine your conscience before you go to sleep.

Instead of letting impatience grow when you seem to catch every red light, “take five.” Mentally go over your thankfulness list or plan something to do to “make a difference.”

Your doctor is running behind on appointments? Don’t take a nose dive; instead “take five!” Always have a book and some note cards along in your purse and put them to good use, or write your to-do-list.

Look around and see who you can help. You hear the words, “Price check at register seven.” Unfortunately that is the line you are in. Don’t let it ruin your day, or change lanes, “take five” instead. Bring a good attitude to the scene, it is contagious. Who can you help with a kind word or a listening ear?

You will be amazed how this small change in your life to “TAKE FIVE” can make a big difference! In 2017, “stop and smell the roses,” and spread the aroma of joy in the beauty of nature. Make a decision to take life a little slower, so that you are not rushing to catch the bus and blindly trip over the pencils someone dropped in your path. Enjoy the moment so you do not miss the view. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but embrace the challenge to grow in character. This philosophy may not only change your day but perhaps it will improve your vision too.

By cultivating a thankful heart, you will eliminate self-pity and chase the blues away. When you put on the glasses of compassion, you can see clearly the need in another’s life. Set out each day to accomplish something for someone. What a difference that will make in your heart and the hearts of those lives you touch. Somehow reaching beyond ourselves takes our focus off our problems and they seem to shrink in comparison to another’s needs.

My dad, an artist, taught me that “Our lives are an empty canvas. We can paint on it whatever we desire!” How will the picture of your life look? Will it have a sun shining brightly or will you allow a rainstorm to color the canvas of your heart? As for me, I want to paint a masterpiece. I want to color the world with splashes of God’s love painted though His grace.

“TAKE FIVE” each day and see what an artist you can become. Do you have the time to paint a masterpiece?

Copyright 2017 Ellen Mongan