It’s About More Than Holding a Door

 The other day, I was in another room when I heard one of my suitemates walk into our apartment. She had had to juggle a cumbersome laundry basket from one building to another and then up to the top floor. For a group of girls from sea-level hometowns, moving into a four-story building in Colorado meant getting used to the high altitude.

I could detect a tinge of frustration in her voice, though it was not due to climbing the multiple flights of stairs. Instead, she described with incredulity how a group of guys near our building’s entrance reacted to her situation. They were strangers to her and she to them. But they had apparently noticed her trying to open the tricky front door while carrying her load — and did nothing. No offer of help, no gentlemanly gesture.

I’m not here to complain or condemn. On the contrary, this little foil scenario reminded me of the kindness and genuine care of the brothers in Christ I know, and I figured it was opportune to show some appreciation.

So thank you, guys, who hold the door. Many times it’s not convenient for you to stand there waiting — you have a class to dash off to or you’re walking with your group of friends, and holding the door momentarily delays you. But please know that you are appreciated.

Thank you for being nice. You might not realize how much impact you have, but I think that it is an art that you practice, demonstrating kindness to those around you and making people feel valued. One guy on my campus came up with a creative way to do this.

I met up with my friends who were studying in the student center one evening. There were cut carnations in their hands and smiles on their faces. Apparently, one young man had been walking around giving out flowers to random girls he came across in the building. He was not trying to woo one special lady, but he managed to bless each of those girls with a tangible demonstration of brotherly love. I respect his gesture as one that reflected the same care that Jesus, while He was on earth, showed for individuals.

Guys, sometimes it’s not even the thing you do for a girl personally that has the effect of blessing her. When I see a guy go out of his way to help someone — assisting to pick up dropped items, offering to carry heavy packages, clearing away the dishes on the cafeteria table left by someone else — it honestly brings me joy. The act of service was not directed toward me, specifically, but witnessing that humility in action is encouraging and inspiring.

When we see goodness displayed in someone’s life, it is a reminder of the Source of all that is good — God.

I recently heard a phrase that really resonated with me (unfortunately I can’t recall where I heard this, but the credit is not mine): “When you shine Christ more than yourself, the world takes notice.”

My observation as a young woman: When guys demonstrate the love of Christ, they end up bringing joy to many more people than those they intended to serve. Their motivation is not to be noticed for their service, to impress others or draw attention to themselves; however, the inherent goodness of their service, a beautiful rarity in the world, gets noticed. In a pile of dirt, you notice a diamond.

It’s like the effect of a young child’s laughter. When a 4 year old lets out a high-pitched giggle, whether on a crowded bus or in a store or in the church building’s foyer, everyone around her can’t help but smile. Her delight is infectious. Joy has a way of multiplying among those who encounter it. In the same way, seeing godly guys reflect the life of Jesus is delightful — it brings delight to those around them. 

When I see my Bible study leader affectionately interact with his wife and kids, it makes me smile. It is awesome to see his example, to be a first-person spectator of what Christ’s love for His people looks like, as this husband/father has for his family. When a man demonstrates that love for his neighbor (whether that’s the elderly woman in the community, the lonely middle-school student, the child in the juvenile detention center, or the rude customer), he blesses me by reminding me of my Savior’s love. God designed His children to bear His image; He designed my brothers in Christ to model His character through humility, service, strength and selflessness — qualities of real men.

Ladies, what’s a time in your life you’ve seen a guy model Christ, either in service to you or to others? Guys, what motivates you to serve?