Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Salvation Army bell ringer… learning to follow His voice

Yesterday was a cold day (according to me) in Meridian, MS.   I was shivering to the bone.  Hopefully I lost one of those pounds I gained over Thanksgiving!  Obviously I did not dress appropriately for the weather as I dashed out for errands in the city.  I had one rain jacket on but it was not enough.  Thankfully, after only a few stops I realized that I had a cape in the back seat so I quickly added another layer.

My last stop was the Winn Dixie.  As is my custom these days, I spoke to the Salvation Army bell ringer as I entered the grocery store to make my purchases, thanking him for doing what is was doing and telling him that on my way out I would donate.  I did not used to speak to them.   There were so many years I turned my head and walked right past them not wanting to recognize them as a person or to give any of ‘my” money to the charity.  Now, I realize how rude I was for those many years. Now, I want to let them know that they are appreciated.  This bell ringer was no different.

When I paid the grocery checkout clerk, I got my small donation ready to give so I would not be fumbling in the cold to find something to give.  As I entered into the cold breeze of the doorway, the shivering which had ceased in the store started again – even with two coats!  I asked the bell ringer how long he would be there. “8 pm.”  After I made my donation and thanked him again, I rushed to the car to get warm.  

Thoughts began to wonder in my mind.

“Self” I said, “… 8 pm…could you stand to be out in the cold ringing a bell as hundreds people walked by ignoring you?  Hmmm, that would be hard.  Maybe I will bring him something hot to drink later today.  But I have a lot of things to do and I might not have time.  Oh… I’ll put a post on the community Facebook and tell people if they are coming by to bring this man something hot to drink.”

I continued out the driveway toward home when the small voice spoke inside my heart.  “There is a Hardees right there.” 

Me: “Yep, sure is” as I continued heading home.  “See if they have something hot to drink for the bell ringer”. 

“Ok… I will check… but I AM short on time, but if this is YOU GOD speaking, you will order my steps to get what I need to take of today done.”

I waited in the drive through for some time but was able to get some hot chocolate.  I drove back to the bell ringer, asked if he liked hot chocolate.  He said yes and I gave him the warm drink.  He gave a simple “Thank you” and I drove off.

I followed Jesus direction this time.  I knew it in my heart and I was completely satisfied.  It was something simple. It addressed a current need.

I share with you this story just as an encouragement to you.  There are folks all around us that need the experience of the love of Christ to touch them today.  The hot chocolate was a gift from God for the bell ringer.  Not sure that he knew that, but I did.  God had spoken to me to give of his time and money he had given to me.  God made provision for the bell ringer.  Just as he will for each one of us through a variety of means.  Yesterday, for the bell ringer, at 3 pm in the afternoon, it was a cup of hot chocolate.

Maybe today you, too, will hear the still small voice of God asking you to touch another’s life in some small way.  I hope so.  I just love it as he gives me “practice sessions” in hearing Him in my life!

By the way, as you walk past a Salvation Army bell ringer….tell them I said “Hello” and give a gift. 

No comments: