Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Take a minute, Friend.

I was in Walmart the other day getting some stuff for Judy. My mind was filled with all the data and debris from the morning, the week, and the future: North Korea is nuts, the Middle East is on fire, people no longer know what bathroom to use, etc. As I walked along, a little lady using a walker smiled broadly and said, “Boomer!” Realizing she was reacting to my University of Oklahoma T-shirt, I replied brightly, “Sooner!” She laughed, I laughed, and we went on our way, both of us with a spring in our step and a smile on our face. From there I went to the checkout where I heard one cashier saying, “Have a blessed day” to a customer who was obviously cheered by the encouragement. The lady who helped me was named Sima (It was on her name tag). She was from Liberia, and had a lovely accent and an appreciation for being called by her name. We waved and exchanged blessings as I took my bags and left. I forgot all about Kim Jung whoever, the mysteries of bathroom choice, and all my other global concerns, because I had made personal contact with real human beings.

Here’s the point. The world around us is a mess. There are genuine mega-problems at every turn. These things deserve thought and prayer. They don’t deserve worry and distraction. The life we are living day to day gives us constant opportunities to be a blessing to individual people, eye-to-eye, one at a time. It is why we are here, and it is incredibly simple.

· Remember that the “idiot” in line searching his pockets for two pennies to make right change is probably just as frustrated as you are. Don’t curse him, encourage him.

· Smile and greet people. Make eye contact. Jesus died for them. The least you can do is grin at them.

· Look for common experience. A hot day, a beautiful sunset, even impatience at the DMV can be an opening to connection.

· Read name tags and t-shirt logos. Use the information you find. Researchers tell us that nearly everyone loves to hear their own name.

Above all, value people. They are more important than your worries. Understanding is more effective than criticism. Winning people is much more likely to spring from connection than contention.

Somebody Said: You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life. Zig Ziglar

Scripture Reading: Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge: “Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. (Matthew 10:5-8 MSG)

Our lives have become remarkably isolated, even in a crowd. We stare at a screen, plug buds in our ears, and withdraw into the seclusion of our own minds. Maybe self-centeredness has become the norm, and self-absorption an acceptable pastime. But, I think folks long for the days when we waved at neighbors instead of fearing them. For those who never experienced it, try it, you might like it.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238

Faith Ministry Training Institute offers classes to help you become more effective in your life of faith . Check it out at www.fmtionline.com.

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