One of my daughters routinely sends me funny memes and videos that she finds on Instagram. These just make me smile and laugh, and I love it. However, this last one she sent didn’t just make me smile. It made me contemplate how I conduct myself with those I know and those I don’t.

There was a school that gave each student a balloon as they came in that day. Their instructions were to blow up the balloon, write their name on it, and then toss the balloon in the hallway where they were mixed up. I don’t know how many go to that school, but let’s just say it’s one of our schools in Crawford County. So around 500 students – give or take.

So there are now 500 balloons filling the hallways of the school. The next instruction the students received was to go out and find the balloon with their name on it, and they were given 5 minutes to do so. All the students exited the classrooms in what likely would appear as mass chaos. They began going through all the balloons with the goal of everyone finding their own balloon in 5 minutes.

With 5 minutes expired, there was little success, if any at all. But it wasn’t over. The students received another set of instructions. Pick up a balloon, find the person it belongs to, and give it to them. And within 5 minutes, everyone had their own balloon. The point? The students didn’t have much success finding their own balloons. However, when they helped someone find theirs, they also found their own.

Joy in life

While balloons didn’t exist while Jesus walked the earth, I wonder if that’s part of what he was trying to say – don’t worry about finding your own joy in life. Instead, serve another and help them find their joy, and in turn, you’ll discover that’s where your joy was the entire time. It’s that brotherly and sisterly love that should mark us as believers.

The writer of Hebrews puts it this way.

Hebrews 13:1-2   Let the love of the brothers and sisters continue. Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this, some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Loving each other, not neglecting, and showing care, concern, and hospitality – isn’t always easy or convenient. Often the temptation is to look out for oneself first, then others. I’m guilty of this, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. And, like the balloons, it makes finding yours much harder.

It seems upside down, doesn’t it? Most of what Jesus said and did was just that – upside down. Genuine love for others isn’t just in words we say. It’s when we think of ourselves less and others more. It’s thinking of self…less.

I’m reminded of times that I can look back and see when I got it right. I wish there were more of them. I gave time and energy to someone else’s well-being instead of mine. And I wouldn’t complain about it. I’d give when it hurt and look out for those who need encouragement. I mean, actually, look for them! What’s common in all those is that when I lived like that, I made Jesus smile. Don’t rush past this. When we help someone else find theirs, it makes our Jesus smile. And I like making him smile.

Life gets so rushed that it’s easy to slip back into old habits of looking out for my balloon instead of helping someone else find theirs. So today, instead of trying to find your own balloon, er, rather, joy, help someone else find theirs. You never know; you might just be entertaining an angel when you do!

You are loved!