A beautician arrives once a month to a food pantry. She brings a truck load of food with her. One day the volunteer asks her story. She was working for a person who owned a franchise. It was always her dream to own a franchise beauty salon. She and her husband knew they would never be able to afford it after checking into it. So she is content on just working on her own. She puts a tip jar on the counter for people to give tips if they’d like. She decides to take the tip money and buy groceries for this food pantry. She lets people know where the tip money is going. More people give and the tips get larger and the money grows. Now she is getting so much money and buying so many groceries she can’t haul them in her car. Her husband sees the problem and buys her a truck. She has another beautician working with her and she sees what her boss is doing. So she sets out a jar and the tips come pouring in. The donations to the food pantry grows.
One day a man shows up at her shop asking for her. She introduces herself and he says he is from the headquarters of the franchise for that particular shop. He says to her, “I want to give you a franchise.” She says, “Thank you, but my husband and I can’t afford to buy one.” His reply was, “You didn’t hear me I want to give you a franchise.” That day after he left she was the proud owner of a franchise she couldn’t afford. She had all the legal documents. She is stunned.
This is a true story. The place I volunteer are the recipients of her truck load of groceries. She comes in faithfully with her groceries to feed those who are living on the edge. Do you understand the magnitude of her service? She could have taken the tip money she was given, saved it up and maybe eventually bought her franchise. She could have taken the tip money she was given, saved it up and gone on a fabulous trip with her family. There are a number of things she could have done with the money, but she chose to help others. She looked past her wants to fill other’s needs.
A man named Chuck was at a church service listening to someone talk about helping those who were marginalized, those who were homeless and etc. He had a big heart until he looked at his schedule. He shared with the speaker that he commuted one hour each way to work; that is two hours a day. He does research which takes up a lot of time. He shares that he loves his work and works hard at it. He tells the speaker that the one day of the week that he does have home with his family, he doesn’t want to spend in the park meeting the homeless, or feeding the hungry.
This was a challenge for the speaker, but he was not going to let Chuck get off. He asks him if he had an office. Chuck replied that he did. Once again the speaker asks Chuck if he knew or cared for the person who came in and cleaned up after him. Chuck replied he knew there was a woman who came in two or three times a week to clean his office. Chuck admitted he didn’t know her or her name. She had been cleaning his office for at least seven or eight years. Several weeks later the speaker gets a phone call from Chuck. Chuck informs the speaker of the woman’s name and goes on to tell him she has two jobs trying to provide for her family. Chuck is now friends with this woman. Not only that but she has been invited into their home. They have even spent Christmas together.
Most of us lead busy lives. We can’t imagine squeezing one more thing in our lives. The days we do have off are often limited and the last thing we want to do is to socialize with anyone let alone strangers or those who are struggling. Chuck thought he was off the hook, but God doesn’t work that way.
Here are two stories of people who lead busy lives. Here are two stories of God working through them to help those who are often overlooked. Neither one of these people do things that are earth shaking or would make people sit up and take notice, but to the people in their lives that receive the blessings they are angels in disguise.
God does not call all of us to the mission field. God does not call all of us to go and sit with the homeless or serve meals, or to drop our jobs and build homes, or mow grass or anything else He needs done, but he does call all of us to be servants of his love and his grace. He does call all of us to minister to those who we meet every day, who we pass on the street, or who we work with, and maybe even who we worship with. If we would be like Chuck and stop for a few minutes and think about those people who are in our lives that often make our lives a little easier we would soon find a mission field. It’s hot in Texas. How many of us have seen mailmen deliver mail in this heat. What difference would it make if we offered a bottle of water to quench a thirst? Or what about those who pick up our trash and pick up our recyclables? Do you think it might make a difference to them? We all have vehicles and the oil needs to be changed, or we need to have our cars inspected, what difference would it make if we took a batch of cookies to them (store bought of course) or offered a cake? We love to give gift cards to friends when birthdays or anniversaries roll around. What difference would it make to someone if you handed out a gift card to McDonald’s or Starbucks or Target or… it just might change a life or at least an attitude.
I have a couple that can’t do a lot because of family obligations, but all I need to do is call and say I need a large print Bible and I have one in my hands shortly. I think too many times we associate God’s ministry with mission work overseas, or leaving home and building wells for water, or healing the sick. God’s mission field for you might just be next door, or the mailman, or the person who mows your grass or any number of those who you come in contact with on a daily or weekly basis. What about the Secretary staff at the doctor’s office or dentist office?
The beautician story shows us when we step up and step out God will abundantly bless us. She took what God allowed her to have; she blessed it, multiplied it and gave it away. But, God was noticing. Deuteronomy 15:10, “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”
I challenge each of you to find your mission field. Whose life will be different because you took the time to care and show God’s love? A beautician and a researcher; two ordinary lives that took the time and the resources and made a difference. What difference will you make in someone’s life?
Dear Lord, I often overlook those who I come in contact with every day. I pass by the garbage man without a second thought. Those who pick up my recyclables’ I ignore. Instead of offering the mailman a refreshing drink I impatiently wait for him to leave so I can grab the mail. There is a mission field right in front of me and I don’t see it. I don’t step up and step out when I can. Forgive me Lord and help me to give generously, not only my money, but my time. Let me see with your eyes those who need a tender touch or a soft word. Help me to be a blessing to others. Amen