A few weeks ago my husband and I were trying to decide what to eat for dinner. We each threw out options, but nothing sounded appetizing. Then my husband mentioned Chinese, and that sounded good to me. There is a Chinese buffet in the mall in our small town. As my husband and I normally do with most of our restaurant eating, we like to take it home. So we went in, filled up a couple of takeout containers, and headed to the checkout.
There was an elderly gentleman who was making his way to the checkout with his bill at the same time we were. He was slow moving and bent over a bit, using a cane to aid him. We let the man go ahead of us. Then my husband told me he wanted us to pay for his bill. I agreed. So my husband then approached the man and asked the man if we could pay his bill. The man seemed a little disoriented at first, but then he said it was okay.
After paying we went to man’s table to meet his wife and granddaughter. And the man spoke to us for a few minutes, asking us several times to pray for him. He told us his name and a few things that he had been through recently. But the beautiful thing was that this man seemed melancholy when we first laid eyes on him, but had transformed into a more chipper man by the time we parted ways.
This encounter brought a blessing on both sides. My husband and I were talking about it as we drove home and agreed that the reason why we went to that restaurant was just for that man.
My coworker told me a similar story recently. There is a grocery store very close to our office, almost diagonal across an intersection. Many of my coworkers go there at lunchtime to grab something to eat. The preferred route is to turn right at the intersection and left into the parking lot. But on this particular day, my coworker went straight at the light and right into the parking lot. (Going this way is more of a hassle because you have to go through a gas station, past a fast food place, and also go by a car wash.) On this particular day, my coworker noticed what appeared to be a homeless man sitting on the ground near the car wash. So when he went in the grocery store, he added an extra sandwich, chips, and coke to his basket. After leaving the grocery store he handed the man a bag of food, and the man was so thankful to receive it. My coworker mentioned that he knew that was why he took that route to the store when he normally goes the other way.
In both of these incidents, I am reminded how much we need to tune into the Holy Spirit and listen to His promptings. Sometimes we will feel a little “nudge” on the inside that tells us we should go to a certain place or take a particular path. Or the Lord might prompt us to give to someone in need, as we see in these two stories. There are many reasons why God might speak to us. If we turn an attentive ear towards Him, He will gladly direct our steps.
And I am also reminded of the importance of giving. People in general seem to be more giving around the holidays. But giving is something we can do all year. This Christmas season (and beyond), may we keep our hearts open for situations where we can give. And remember that giving doesn’t always require money. We can also give our time, our attention, an ear to listen, or a helping hand.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
I pray you and your loved ones have a very Merry CHRISTmas!
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas