My car has been misbehaving lately, i.e. It’s been overheating. One night, I turn on my car while at my school’s parking lot, and suddenly, a big STOP sign lights up in my dashboard. I sighed deeply because I knew what had happened: My car had overheated once again, and the radiator needed water. This was my first time dealing with the car all by myself. So here I was, a girl who knew nothing about cars, who had never fixed the car on her own, trying to see what she could pull off.
I started to think about what needed to be done. First, I need a plastic jug to put the water in. Check; had one in the car. Second, I need water. Check; it had been raining a lot. Third, I need to open the hood and check the cooling system. Check; I used a little piece of cloth to open the cap. Fourth, I turned on the car and poured water in. But then, the water started to boil. I turned off the car. I ran out of ideas. I didn’t know what to do.
All the while, I was looking all around, secretly hoping someone would offer me a little help. My car was parked close to the entrance, so there were a lot of people coming and going. I didn’t really want to bother anyone by asking for help. Besides, I wanted to see if any guy would be a gentleman and approach me to offer help. Much to my surprise, they didn’t. I was having a hard time, not knowing what to do, and many guys who saw me struggling with a car and an open hood looked at me and walked by.
You know what I thought at that moment? First, I thought that there are very few gentlemen left; that out of the many men around me, NOT ONE offered to help. Second, I thought about the good Samaritan story, and how I’d experienced it the other way around.
Lastly, I thought about the story of Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24:12-22. To give a little background on the story, Abraham was living in a pagan land, and it was about time his son Isaac married. But Abraham didn’t want Isaac to marry one of the pagan girls. So he sent his servant to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. Once there, the servant arrived to a well and prayed to God to show him which girl he should choose: if he asks her for water to drink, and she offers to water his camels too, then she would be the one. Effectively, a very pretty girl named Rebekah did exactly that, and she ultimately married Isaac.
Isn’t it curious that both stories here relate to water? The servant needed water for his camels (his mode of transportation) while I needed water for my car (my modern mode of transportation). Do you think it’s coincidence that the sign the servant asked of the Lord was related to service? He didn’t ask God for the girl to have blonde hair, or to have the prettiest tunic or to give him any kind of sign related to external things. He asked God to decide who would be Isaac’s wife based on an act of service. Why? Because it showed a lot of her character. It showed whether she was kind to strangers, whether she was happy to serve others, whether she was dedicated to her responsibilities, whether she was submissive. By that one act of kindness and service, the servant could tell a lot about who Rebekah was. And it would be a very strong deciding factor on whether she would be a good, godly woman and future wife.
When I was in that situation, when I needed help with my car, I was also able to tell which of these guys had a kind attitude and was willing to serve. Sadly, none of them did. But that served to show me that these are not the kind of men I want to marry. Seeing a man (or woman) in his day-to-day life, how he treats people and how much he’s willing to help others who need help shows a lot of his character. In the end, we (girls) need to marry men who are spiritual leaders, who are protectors, providers and who can sacrifice their comfort when the time requires it. And men also need to marry women who are nurturing, happy servers and good helpmates.
These guys probably didn’t know I was observing them, and they were probably not even interested in impressing me, but I was able to determine much of their character right away based on what I saw of them in that little crucial moment, their disposition to help someone in need.
Now imagine the opposite situation: a guy who had gone out of his way to help me out with the car; get it up and running. Imagine the good impression that guy would’ve caused on me or any other girl in my situation. If he was ever [hypothetically] interested in me [and if he were Christian], he wouldn’t have to convince me much to go out with him because I already have a favorable opinion of him based on a kind deed he did to me—no matter how simple the deed.
So here’s a two-way encouragement for both guys and girls on choosing a spouse:
1. BE KIND AND READY TO SERVE: People appreciate a lot when strangers approach them to help them in a time of need; whether it is to jumpstart your car, whether they hold the door for you, whether you allow them to copy your class notes, or offer help with homework. People appreciate it and WILL have a positive opinion of you because of it. Who knows? You might even start a friendship with a stranger who once helped you or whom you once helped.
Don’t waste any opportunity to serve people, even if you don’t have to go out of your way to do it and even if you do. It might not mean much to you, but it will mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.
2. NOTICE KINDNESS AND ACTS OF SERVICE: When it’s time for you to start considering a person to marry, look at how willing he is to serve others. Even before there is any romantic attraction that may bias your opinion, notice the way he behaves and treats other people. It will show you his true character in a daily scenario where he is just being himself and not trying to impress anyone. A person who is willing to serve anyone in need shows a sacrificial attitude that resembles Christ’s.
So, be kind. The right kind of people will notice it and be attracted to you because of it. And notice kindness in others. It is just another signal we can use to make sure we marry a person who is selfless, aware of others’ needs and working on becoming more like Christ. Kindness can go a long way.