Ready for the “rest of the story”? Actually, it’s a story that was fast-forward-ed about a week. I feel so honored that God believes in me enough to think I can remember something that happened a whole week earlier. Bless His heart. So, I was out with a friend for coffee. We are fellow cancer butt-kickers. I have slightly more hair than her, but it’s pretty clear that neither of us are wearing this style on purpose. Let me just say that our day started out good, when a man crossed the room just to tell us how beautiful we were. After he left, I noticed a women with two adorable little kids making her way around the restaurant. Now, she was heading for us. My hunch was that she was not coming to compliment us. She was asking for soup for her kids. AND, btw, did we have any money for gas? Well, since “money for gas” seemed to be a current theme in my life, i felt like I really had no choice but to cooperate with what I felt like God had put before me. I bought her 2 soups for her children and a sandwich for her. She kept asking for gas money. I had no money, but then I remembered I had a gas-gift card and I gave her that. I was feeling pretty good about myself and that I hadn’t said “no”, like I have dozens of times before. Then, into the midst of me feeling pretty good about this whole encounter, there crept the darkness. After I gave her the gas card, she continued to ask for cash. Red flag #1. Then, as she sat across from us and ate, I noticed that when she left, she also left behind most of her sandwich and enough bread to feed the 5,000. Red flag #2. I almost went and got it to take home to my own kids!!! Now I wasn’t feeling so good about what I had done. I felt kind of sick to my stomach. I felt lied to. Taken advantage of. Suckered. I bet you are thinking, “now see, that’s why I don’t do things like that!”. That’s typically why I don’t. I tell myself that they will probably just use the money for drugs or alcohol and after all, there are plenty of places that would help them if it’s help they really wanted. On and on and on.
But then, before bitterness took root, I remembered. I remembered that I am not responsible for other people’s behavior or choices. I remembered that it is not my job to assign motive to other people. It is not my job to judge. MY job is to obey. To love. To serve. How other’s respond to me doing MY job is none of my business. Now fancy that.
Oh-I almost forgot the coolest part of the story (aside from me learning to mind my own business and listen to God, no matter the projected outcome): As I was paying about $20 for that woman’s food and giving her a $50 gas card, I admit that I was thinking, “ok God-I’ll obey, but you are gonna have to take care of me because I really don’t have the extra money to be doing this. I have just a couple medical bills haunting me. You are gonna have to show up.” (it sounds sort of bossy, in hindsight, but I believe it was me telling God that I was going to take the risk and trust him. I think He understood that.). Now, I do believe that there are hundreds of ways that God could show up to let me know that He saw and he heard. If I am looking for those ways, I will always find them. But there are times when He chooses to be excruciatingly obvious (I thank him for this, because I am a bit ADD). This is one of those times. After I left, I got some Real Estate news that boosted my income immediately. When I was calling my mom to tell her about said news, she told me that she had received some money from a friend and that she was giving it to me as spending money for when I go visit her in a couple weeks (my bday gift from my parents is a ticket to visit them in California, THIS time I will be Leukemia free!). Every time I listen to God, I don’t get a check in the mail. But you can probably tell similar stories about ways that He has shown up for you because you “showed up” for someone else. It may be in tangible ways or more intangible, such as giving you a sense of peace in a horrid time. Or a phone call from a friend when you are at the end of your rope. Or even a kind word from a stranger telling you you look good with a boy haircut or even totally bald. Don’t give up doing good just because people don’t “deserve” it. That’s not for you, or me, to decide. YOU listen and YOU act on what is on YOUR conscience (and by YOU, I mostly mean ME). Let God take care of the rest of it.