Monday, January 31, 2011

Working for GEICO or GOD?

If you are one of my teens, try to contain your groans because I'm going to say it again. YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THOSE YOU NEVER KNEW WERE WATCHING OR LISTENING. Just 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes could change someone's life forever. No, I'm not talking about buying car insurance from Geico. I'm talking about how by taking 15 minutes to reach out in godlike love and attitude, you can save a life. Millions are searching for love. Hurting to be held. Aching for a hug. Yearning for someone just to show that they care. Don't let life get too busy to reach out to someone. You may be the one person that keeps them from giving up.

Many years ago when I was still an undergrad, I went hiking with some friends from work. We were on a fairly difficult trail - Dragon's Tooth - and were very close to the top. We came across a little boy sitting on the side of the trail crying. His dad was standing there pleading with the boy. "Please get up. Please. We are almost there. It's just up ahead. Please get up." The boy wasn't moving. He was spent. I had seen it a million times before with my campers and didn't even think about the fact that we weren't at camp and I didn't know this kid. I just walked over, sat down beside him and started chatting. I don't remember this at all. One of my coworkers wrote a reference letter for me a few years after this and included this story in his letter. I recently came across the letter, contacted the guy and asked him to remind me about it. He said I asked the boy his name, told him mine and was saying "wow that was a hard hike! I can't believe you made it all the way here! You are such a big boy!" Apparently I just started building the kid up with praise. Then, I stood up and said something along the lines of "Come on, let's go to the top. It's right there. I can see it." The boy hesitated but I reached my hand out and said I'd hold his hand and we'd count the steps. I said if we got to 50 and weren't there he could sit back down. The boy then reached out, took my hand and started counting steps with me. Before we got to 50 he saw his mom at the top and took off running towards her. The dad thanked me over and over. I brushed it off and told them to have a nice day. My coworkers and I went on about our day, enjoying the view for a while, hiked back down and went to dinner. At dinner my coworkers were talking about the kid and how awesome that was. I again shrugged it off as nothing. It was just me doing what I'd done so many times before - getting a kid to walk further than they thought they possibly could.

Ten years later, a young man in army fatigues came up to me at a store. He asked if I remembered helping a little boy hike to the top of Dragon's Tooth. At the time, I didn't. I had no idea what this guy was talking about. He then told me he didn't think I'd remember him, but he never forgot me. He said I taught him that day to never give up because the peak could be just ahead. It gave me cold chills. I wondered what on earth I could have possibly done to have impacted a kid so much. The young man shook my hand and left. I never saw him again. I don't even know his name. I couldn't pick him out of a picture if someone labeled it for me. God bless him - whoever and wherever he is!

A couple years later I had the opportunity to reach out to someone who had taken the time to say something profound to me when I was just a kid. I was 11 years old and at a very difficult time in my life. This man was a celebrity and I just knew he'd never remember me. I wrote him an email and told him thank you - just for being him. I knew he wouldn't remember the day or what he said, so I didn't mention it. I just said thank you. It made me start thinking of the little boy on the trail again. How many times do we experience things just like that? How many times do we say or do something and then brush it off and forget about it? How many 15 minute experiences do we have in life? 15 minutes that mean nothing to us, but mean the world to the other person involved? Just like with this celebrity when I was little. It meant nothing to him or any of his family members, but it changed my life. Thankfully, I had the chance to meet this man again and thank him in person. I shared briefly about the day we'd met so many years ago. A friend that was with us shared his response with me later. He had the same type of reaction I'd had with that young man in uniform. "Wow - that must have really had a big affect on her." We weren't quite sure what we'd said or done - but we knew we'd made a difference. Me in the life of a little boy sitting on the side of a trail and him on a little girl who desperately needed to know there was hope for her.

Don't underestimate the power of 15 minutes. Or even 15 seconds. Every smile you give a stranger, every pat on the back you give a child, every word of encouragement you share with a friend... they are examples of God reaching out and loving us. Let Him use you in those little moments. Let Him shine through in those experiences. It could change a life forever. It could save a life. For eternity.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Obedience is Not Just for Dogs

There are never any coincidences in God's world, are there? 

Amongst my daily bible readings are one psalm and one proverb. I read through Psalms starting at the beginning, getting the end and starting over again.  Currently, I am on Psalm 19.

For Proverbs, I read the proverb of the day - for example, today was the 8 so I read Proverbs 8.

Reading the psalm first, I ran across some scripture that was meaningful to me, and each day I share that which I find such on my Facebook page.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7-11, King James Version

The topic here, one that is recurrent for this particular individual, is to OBEY.  God said it so I'll do it right? Seeking His will and following His law is job one for Christians.  We don't even have to necessarily know why we obey, we just do it because we have faith in HIM.  Simon knew this when, even though he had been having a less than stellar time fishing all night long, when Jesus commanded him to oddly cast out their nets late at night and in deep water.  

"And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." Luke 5:5, King James Version

Because I do believe there are no coincidences - and that God gives me lessons everywhere I am at - I was pleased once I moved onto Proverbs to get this message, again.

17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Proverbs 8:17-21, King James Version

Obeying God and seeking his ultimately fulfill's God's mission for us, glorifies his name and can help to make you happier.  We know God is good! Therefore, obeying HIM is the best thing we can do!