Sometimes God shows up in one of those “Twilightzone-ish (insert music here…)” moments that give us goose bumps. Every once in awhile this happens to me. And even though some might be skeptical, I really just need to talk about one that happened to me last week. Bear with me, because I need to give a bit of back story in order to give you the punch line. Last week, I had an all day “retreat” day planned at a friend’s lakehouse. Before I headed out there, I had to run several Real Estate errands, including taking a large check to the title company. Since I didn’t want to waste any valuable “retreat” time, I decided to listen to a CD with several 10 minute talks by various women Leaders while I was driving around. After i picked up the check at the office and headed out of town, I realized I had forgotten to drop off the check at the title center. I had to turn around and drive about 10 minutes back into town. I was frustrated with myself. I was missing valuable solitude and reflection time! On my way to the Lakehouse, I had one last errand to run. I needed to check on some property I had listed. As I drove there, already behind schedule by 15 minutes or so, I was listening to a Beth Moore talk on this scripture:
James 2:14-17 14 My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them? 15 A brother or sister might need clothes or food. 16 If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. 17 In the same way, faith by itself—that does nothing—is dead.
She talked about how she read this verse and then asked God, “what does this look like?”. Soon after, she was pulling in to a gas station and noticed a man and his kids standing outside their car. she motioned for them to go ahead of her and the man shook his head, so she pulled up. After another car left, she looked over and saw that he and the kids were pushing their car up to the pump. They had run out of gas. At that moment, she felt like God told her, “what it looks like is you putting gas in this man’s car.” So she offered and after some convincing, he obliged her. Then, she said she asked God, “what would it look like for someone who didn’t have money to put gas in his car?”. She was reminded of a story in her own life, where she spoke a friendly greeting to a Matron in a women’s restroom. The woman got a bit emotional and thanked her. Beth said, “but all I did was say ‘hello'”. The woman said that most of the time, she goes unnoticed. Beth had given her the dignity of being noticed. She felt “seen”. Filling the tank isn’t the only gift she gave at that gas station. First and foremost, it was the act of her noticing the man and his situation. Getting outside herself and wanting to help him was a significant part of the blessing.
Ok-so now for the part that still gives me chills. I pulled up to the property I am checking on, paused my CD, and texted a friend who lives nearby, inviting her to come see me while I was out her direction. She was within walking distance and soon appeared. I told her that I was surprised she was home during the day, and then she said it, “Well, we don’t get paid until next week, so I am working from home because I don’t have the money to FILL MY CAR WITH GAS.” Just let that sink in for a minute. My CD is paused on a story about a woman filling up someone’s tank with gas and of all the reasons in the world my friend could have for being at home, it’s because she needs gas? If I wouldn’t have gone back to deliver the check, I would not have been listening to this talk yet. Well, because I am so quick to put two and two together ( 🙂 ), I of course offered to have her follow me to the gas station down the street and fill her tank up with gas. I told her i thought GOD wanted me to do it. I told her about the Talk I’d been listening to and that I thought it was partly meant for her. In the end, she declined my offer, because she said God was actually teaching her some things during this time of waiting. But I think, I am not 100% sure, but she seemed to feel “noticed.” I hope she felt lighter just having someone offer to help. Not all of us have the means to give money, but we do have the means to give attention; To give dignity with a smile or a wave or a helping hand.
I have another story to tell. It happened about a week after this and it is also about “noticing”….and about filling someone’s tank. (ooooohhh, that sounds like another kind of blog: “filling someone’s tank….”). But, you will have to tune-in in a day or two to hear that story. Meanwhile-be in the moment and ask God to show you who it is needs the dignity of being noticed today.