Today I was extraordinarily blessed with a spectacular day. However, I wavered back and forth about whether to blog about my day. The reason being is that, while I enjoy identifying opportunities to serve Christ with my whole heart, I am hesistant about writing or talking about them.
On one side of the coin, I want to blog about them to share with others ideas on how they can identify opportunities and serve Christ. It also might be an opportunity to inspire others. At the least, it probably makes for a good story.
On the other side of the coin, I do not want to bring attention to myself. When I act on these tugs at my heart by the Holy Spirit, I am merely being obedient and doing what God calls me to do. It is nothing special and I continue to be amazed at how God can use a broken vessel like me to fulfill His plan. I write about this solely for #1) the glory of Christ and #2) to hopefully inspire others to get out there and make a difference. Additionally, scripture gives us some good guidance on this as well. In Matthew 6:1-4 (New International Version)
1″Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2″So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
So with that all being said, here is a summary of my day as I was able to serve Christ. I blog about this to bring glory to Christ and inspire others to do the same.
As most of you regular readers know, I spot all sorts of cool things in the morning and on my drives to work. From gorgeous sunrises, to patriotic signs, to wildlife, to a combination of almost everything. I have learned that the morning and my commute to work is when I am freshest and when I am most open to God speaking to me.
So this morning it was no different as I cruised to work in the drizzling rain. I was about 1 or 2 miles away when I noticed a TARC bus stopped in the middle of nowhere in the industrial park dropping off a nicely dressed lady in heels. Now, this was peculiar because it was a part of the industrial area where there is no intersection, no bus stop, no strip mall, no stores……nothing but warehouses and industrial buildings. She didn’t have an umbrella and was holding a Walmart bag and newspaper above her head. I sped by the other direction at 55mph and didn’t think twice when I heard my heart say that I had to make a U-turn to go back and offer her a ride to where she was going. It took me a 1/4 mile to find a break in the median (again, this was an industrial area with not much around). I spun around and pointed the car back to where I saw the bus drop her off. She had made her way not far down a side street. I pulled up, rolled the window down and asked if I could give her a dry ride to where she was going.
It turned out she was just going to the next large warehouse building where she works but she was thankful for the sheltered escort to the front doors. I didn’t even get a chance to ask her name but said goodbye and “have a nice day”.
As I turned around in the parking lot, I turned back up the radio to my normal dial — 88.5 WJIE. At that time one of my favorite bands — Tenth Avenue North — was on playing their latest hit single from their new album – Healing Begins (which I am listening to as I blog write this). Uncharacteristically of me, I lifted up my hand in praise as an obedient servant. It was just coming off a small task of service and now was acknowledging my Savior. I was overcome all the way back to my work.
So, as you can imagine, my day was off to an awesome start. Unfortunately, one of my really good friends who I was having lunch with had to cancel. This is one of my “anchor” people — someone who is a brother in Christ and where we can build each other up. (Editorial: make sure you have “anchor” people in your life that can build you up and who you can build up. It is important to have the encouragement, accountability, wisdom and perspective of other close believers.)
Being the resourceful person I am, I inquired with another anchor friend of mine who agreed to head out to lunch with me. We decided on a local BBQ place and headed a bit before noon so we could beat the lunch crowd.
We enjoyed nice conversation on the way there and I exited the freeway eagerly anticipating a nice meal with a friend and the large sweet tea I have come to love. As we went under the freeway I noticed someone standing at the bottom of the offramp from the other direction. That area is quite a bit away from the city and not known for panhandlers. He looked down on his luck but wasn’t filthy or ragged. He was holding a cardboard sign that I couldn’t see from our angle.
I looked over to my friend and informed him that I was going to take a detour. Now this is a bit of a sidebar here — I am very lucky to have a friend in Christ in this anchor person. He and I have had all sorts of interesting conversation in our trials and tribulations and have been able to share and build our faith together throughout our growing relationship. And while making this kind of detour is not in my everyday activities, especially with someone else along for the ride, it was something I felt comfortable enough within our relationship to be able to do. I thank him for being someone I can share that with.
We crossed through the intersection and pulled to the side shoulder. My friend hung out in the car while I jogged back to inquire as to what the offramp fellow needed. He couldn’t hear me across the traffic and was initially hesitant to leave his vantage point. He finally “Froggered” his way through the offramp traffic over to my side. He was an older guy with graying shoulder length hair. I asked him if he wanted to join us for lunch. He said he was stranded here and was trying to get back to Bowling Green (just a short 2 hour jaunt south down I-65). He said he didn’t want lunch but needed a bus ticket to go home.
Now, normally I don’t give cash to panhandlers, homeless or cardboard sign folks. It is too easy for them to use it for nefarious purposes (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other things they don’t need — which is quite often why they are in the situation to begin with). But for some reason, my heart spoke to me and I gave him the needed money for the bus ticket. At that time, I was able to convince him to join us for lunch. That test he passed — I was thinking that if his “real” need for a bus ticket was met, he would then spend time with us over a meal. If he just wanted money, he’d take it and get back to his prime spot on the offramp.
I introduced him to my friend who was patiently waiting in the car and he said his name was Jesse. We headed down to our lunch destination and worked through the initial uncomfortable moments such situations come with.
Stay tuned…..part 2 and the lunch conversation will come tomorrow. It is late and I need to get my beauty sleep. (Ha!)
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net