Thursday, March 10, 2011

He Always Will

photo credit: Ben Smithdeal

A dear friend of mine posted this Bible verse on my Face book "wall" this morning:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. "
~Matthew 5:14-16

I was so glad she did that because I have been thinking about this verse all day.

This is what Lent is: illuminating  a shadowed world with the brilliance of His light. God does not shower us with His grace so that we can seal it away, hoard it within.

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

Let me tell you about a lovely woman named Francis. I was standing in line yesterday with all the children in the customer service center at Walmart. Not my idea of fun. Anyway, Anna had quite the get- up on. We had just come from the gym  (she calls it the "YMZ"), and she was sporting this tie-dyed tank top with a sequin peace sign on it. Some how she managed to snatch it out of the 'give away bag ' and she said it's her "YMZ outfit."

So we were standing there, Anna all dudded up, when a woman across the room says (looking at Anna),

 "Ooooh! I love that shirt. Where did you find that cute top? That's really different."

I told the woman that we had been given the shirt as a hand-me-down. She looked at me, smiling, and then:

"I always did handy-downs (that's what she called them) with my kids. And I always bought nice clothes for my kids. So when they was done with them, I jest passed the blessin' on to someone else. That's the way it always works. I give and give and God he jest blesses me more than I ever give.

I had all this furniture in my garage, and I didn't know where to put it. But I didn't want to get rid of it 'cause it had sentimental value. So the Lord, he showed me jest what to do with it. He showed me places to put everything. He blessed every room. He's gonna' bless me right out the house and into the garage!"

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

We talked a little more about blessings and furniture, and then she reached a hand out to me.

"Do you mind telling me your name? You see I always meet people, and then when I pray for them, I don't know a name to put with the face. So I decided that from now on, I would ask people their names for when I pray for them."

At this point, I was feeling so humbled and moved by genuine kindness.

"And...your name?" I asked.

"My name is Francis." She said. "You sure do have cute children. They really are a blessing."

photo credit: Ben Smithdeal

We then introduced all of our children to each other- this huge meeting, this sharing, this communion...right in Walmart.The man standing in line behind me witnessing all this looked at us like we were nuts. I don't know what he was thinking. But I do know this: The world is in desperate need of Francises. The world is craving the gentle charity and benevolence of kind strangers. But that's just it: We are not strangers! We are all God's children, one family.

We cannot wait until we are in church, or with friends, or even at the ball games to open and give of ourselves- in our comfort zones. We must be light to all, in all- right where we are, right now!! Lent is all about giving, opening  up and pouring out to others so that He can refill us. And He always will. Always.