Monday, March 24, 2008

Random Acts

1 Corinthians 13
 12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
 13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

A random act of kindness is sometimes all that is necessary to bring someone to a point in their life that they can see things more clearly. While shopping the other night in Wal-Mart we were ready to check out. We had our focus on the twenty or less check out but in counting Lisa and I found we had more, so we moved down a couple of rows and fell in line. As always there seemed to be a hold up at the register. There were several people ahead of us so I couldn’t see too clearly what was going on. All I knew was, there was a hold up and I was ready to go.

As always, we picked the line that moves the slowest but tonight would be different. Lisa was talking to me about something and I was looking over shoulders trying to get a look at the face that was causing the delay. All I could see was an arm and the credit card machine. Then I saw this lady’s face. It looked like she was under so much distress. My heart really went out to her at this moment. I wish I could stand here and say I prayed for her but I’m not sure if I did. I was so into the event that was unfolding before my eyes. She had tried several credit cards and found only a few dollars of cash in her wallet. Nothing was working. There was no way she was going to be able to pay for what she wanted. I looked into her cart and noticed she had Easter clothes for her children and some food. My heart sank, we had been right where she was standing.

When our girls were growing up it was a blessing to have five dollars left from our pay check. We were blessed to have water and heat most of the time but we never went one day without food and clothes. I guess that’s what was hitting me, watching this event unfold was reminding me of the grace of God. I was getting excited, my soul was stirring and I was getting ready to do something that Lisa and I live to do and that is a random act of kindness.

We have this rule, if someone needs help, then help them. We ask God to lead people to us that need an act of kindness. It doesn’t have to be money, it may be a simple hug that can change a persons life, a simple word that will bring things into focus for them.

So here we are, ready to pounce and ready to experience the joy of giving without a reason, giving out of love and nothing else. As I watched, she swiped her card for the last time, she was done, her face was that of pain and embarrassment. She had reached bottom. She stood there with her eyes looking towards the floor and suddenly a voice from nowhere said, “How much is it, I’ll pay.”

My heart jumped for joy at hearing this but there was no answer at first. The lady looked up and tried to find the voice in the crowd but she couldn’t. The people in line looked like they were in complete shock. Then the voice came again, “I’ll pay, it doesn’t matter the cost, I have it covered.” The people in line started to talk, “That’s such a nice thing to do. That is so sweet.” The man ignored all the voices and walked to the front of the line and handed the cashier what was due. He had paid the entire debt. The lady looked at him and said, “Thank you so much, I will pay you back”, he said, “You can’t do that, it’s my gift to you on this day.”

The lady, the cashier, and the people in line were in shock. I was moved with compassion as if I had just seen an angel come forward and take care of this lady but what I had witnessed was a random act of kindness that moved more than one person.

While watching and listening to this event unfold, I thought of my own life. I still experienced the joy of giving the other night as I was able to witness the gift of giving. Next time maybe I will be quicker to act before a person reaches such a low point.

I believe I witnessed the perfect picture of Jesus Christ right there in Wal-Mart. You see, at our lowest moments in life when we realize that we can’t pay for what we’ve done, we need to be saved from our sins. When we realize that we can’t do all of this on our own Jesus speaks right to you and says with a loud voice, “I have it covered, no matter the cost, you can’t pay me back, the debt is too great.” Oh, what a great picture of our redeemer and how he lives today.

While knowing what Jesus did for us was no random act, it was planned before time had begun. This act of kindness was towards you and me and was meant for us all.

So how do I end this story? As with all of my stories, there seems to be no end just a question, where are you at? What point in life are you at? Are you the lady in line at the end of her rope, not able to pay for anything, needing help but not willing to ask? Are you the person just standing there watching and saying, “I’m going to do that one day?”

Let me encourage you that life is so much more than the everyday, go to work, get home, cook and eat, then go to sleep. That’s routine and confusion. Life is about love, it’s about kindness and giving of yourself so others will see Jesus. Look at the verses we started with. Sometimes life isn’t so clear, sometimes there is a fog, but in verse thirteen there are some things we can do to make life better. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

George Beasley, The Invisible Soul

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Those Gold Shoes

Ecclesiastes 3 (The Message)
14 I've also concluded that whatever God does, that's the way it's going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God's done it and that's it. That's so we'll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear. 
 15 Whatever was, is. 
   Whatever will be, is. 
   That's how it always is with God.

I was sharing these verses with a friend the other day and realized how impacting they are. It’s not our time but it’s Gods time. I am guessing this story is going to go in the direction of doing God’s will and not your own.
Back in the day we all played flag football. As a matter of fact, we played every Thursday. Rick and I were best friends in high school and still are to this day. He had one seat at the very back of the school bus and I had the other. We orchestrated things on the bus from this vantage point. We were not bullies but knew the status and responsibility we had as being the older boys in the home. If we saw something that was out of line we were always quick to take action and correct. Looking back I wonder what the other boys must have thought when it came to Thursdays.
You see on Thursday, Rick and I didn’t talk, we just rode home from school on the bus. We played flag football on separate teams. He played on the “farm” team and I played on the home team. The farm team always recruited the tougher and stronger guys. They were called the farm team because they worked on the farm. That by the way was one of the highest paying jobs at seven dollars a week. The farm team was the best but I wasn’t on it. Don’t get me wrong now, I was as good as any of those guys but the farm thing just wasn’t me.
So, on Thursdays we would ride home and the bus was always quite. This is the day that Rick and I would taunt each other and tell each other exactly what was going to happen on the field that day. You get the point I believe. We were very specific in our language and our action. The other boys would just listen in. If you are wondering who was driving our school bus it was another home boy. We had our own bus and it was just us.
The one day Rick crossed the line. We were going back and forth, it was a very heated conversation that day and we were almost in a fight. We were screaming back and forth. Suddenly, Rick stands up and picks up his book bag. The bus driver slams on breaks. As the bus is coming to a stop I stood up gripping the back of the seat in front of me and Rick reaches into his book bag and pulls out a pair of freshly painted football cleats. He screamed “yea baby, what’s up, what are you going to do with these bad boys.” He had painted these football cleats gold and at the top of his lungs said, “today, these babies are going to fly by you so fast you ain’t going to see nothing but gold.” Then he started this taunt of “FTD, FTD baby, FTD, FTD baby.” Back in the day there was this flower guy on a TV commercial that wore these gold shoes and he ran really fast from delivery to delivery. Rick decided that if he wore gold shoes he would be as fast as the FTD guy.
The whole bus busted out laughing, the driver started the bus and we continued home. Rick strapped into his gold shoes, still taunting me. He was dead serious about these shoes. What could I say, the man had gold shoes on. I was so ready to get to the field that day. The game started and it didn’t take long for me and Rick to get matched up. He had caught a pass and was running down the side line, he looked at me and pointed down at his shoes. I was heading for him, when I got within range I dove and hit him right in the side and sent him sailing about twenty feet out of bounds. This was supposed to be flag football so while we were on the ground I grabbed his flag and said, “got ya golden boy.” We both got up and realized how stupid we were and started laughing and to this day we still laugh about the golden shoes.
So, what’s the point to this story? Sometimes when we put things on, we think we are something we are not. Things don’t really make us who we are. They may make us a picture to others but when it’s all said and done and the lights go out who are you?
As the word in Ecclesiastes says, “it all Gods time, what ever is, is and that’s how it is” maybe put in my vernacular “it is what it is.” If we would try harder at living a life of truth and not one of golden shoes maybe we could help each other more. Maybe we could team up and do something for this world, leaving our gold shoes in the closet. Be who God made you to be, find your destiny in who you are and not who you think you want to be. Find yourself and your position in life in Jesus Christ. This life is not about how much we can get and how much we can model on our backs and in our drive ways. Life is about purpose and destiny. Who are you? Where are you going and how are you going to get there? Are you going to be you or someone with gold shoes? Are you going to be real or carry a painted on person?

George Beasley, Author, The Invisible Soul

The Invisible Soul Ministry


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