Don't get excited. I haven't given away the Bible yet.
No, it seems that God isn't done with me. I'm getting witnessed to again and again. Most recently, at the grocery store - twice.
First . . .
I was loading my groceries in the car when a lady approached, "I see you have a little one with you. You should know about the dangers of Halloween."
She handed me this flyer.
"People think that going around and knocking on doors is okay, but it's not safe."
She was going to say more, but she was interrupted by immediate concern from my little one, "What?! What is she talking about? Why is Halloween not safe? What is she talking about, Mama? WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?"
I stopped his shouting by shutting the door. "Okay, thanks," I said, ready to get the heck out of there.
On the way home I tried to explain why some people think Halloween is concerning. My son thinks it's about dressing up and getting candy. He doesn't know about spirits or devil worship or kidnapping. He still doesn't, because I only told him she was a well-meaning lady who wants us to stay safe. It was confusing, for both of us. In my huff, I sort of looked up to God and thought, "What was THAT?"
Maybe an opportunity for you to work on your tolerance and patience. Yes, even when people interrupt you and annoy you. Yes, even then.
Of course, God didn't say it in a clear, booming voice like that. But that's definitely the message I'm getting the more I think about it. And I keep thinking about it.
A few days later in the SAME grocery store parking lot . . .
My older son and I pulled in on a Sunday. A man was standing at the parking lot entrance holding a cardboard sign, "I LOST MY JOB. FAMILY IS HUNGRY. PLEASE HELP. GOD BLESS YOU."
Immediately he's in alert mode, "Who's that man? What's his sign say? Why is he standing there? Who are those people next to him?"
"I don't know who he is, but his sign says that his family needs some help. I think that's his family sitting next to him. When we come back by, I'll let you give him this five dollar bill, okay?"
I used to be one of those people who didn't give money to anyone on the street. Having children changed that for me. Also, having just come from church where the sermon was on meeting people on the margins of life - I mean, really. Pretty much a God follow-up standing right there.
After shopping, we drove back by and my son happily gave the man the money. The man looked right at my son, "God bless you." Then he looked in my eyes, "God bless you."
My boy lit up, "He said, 'God bless me!' Why did he say that?"
"It's a way of saying thank you. He wants God to bless you because you just blessed him with that money. He knows that we were trying to do a nice thing."
"Oh. Why didn't you give him a twenty?"
"Well, I don't have a twenty." Plus, to be completely honest, I'm more comfortable giving a little when I don't know the backstory. I can afford to lose $5 - that's what I was thinking. Not exactly the point of the morning's sermon, I know.
As I contemplated risk and faith, my companion, who's been saving for Legos, interrupted my thoughts.
"I wish I had my fifty dollars. Then I could give him that. And maybe that could help him buy something he really needs. Like a house or something."
Such purity and innocence in that statement. I suddenly felt a little less self-righteous, with my Christian charity . . . my five dollars . . . my complicated thoughts about trust and how much and when. I wasn't sure what to make of it all.
More than a week later, the outline of a lesson appeared. We were talking about the golden rule, and my son said, "Like that man. Who said "God bless you." The one I gave the $5 to. I treated him the way I want to be treated. I was nice to him and then he can be nice to someone else."
"Yes. You acknowledged him and he acknowledged you. That's how God wants us to treat each other, with kindness. Very good."
Even if I don't love the approach.
Even if I don't agree with every page.
Even if I am unsure of the truth.
Pretty sure that's the witness.
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