Monday, December 15, 2008
Current Study: People Who Made a Difference
Today’s Topic: His Love Makes A Difference
Wow! Only 10 days until Christmas. Are you feeling the crunch yet? My wife and I finished up all of our shopping last week. Now we’re just waiting to see how God interrupts us with other opportunities to give. I think that we miss a lot of real giving chances when we wait until the last minute to do our shopping. We get so busy thinking only about ourselves that we don’t see the people around us and fail to share the love of Jesus with them. Let me illustrate my point with a true story.
It was only five days before Christmas. The spirit of the season hadn’t caught up with Roger yet, even though cars packed the parking lot of his Houston area Target Shopping Center. Inside the store, it was worse. Shopping carts and last minute shoppers jammed the aisles. “Why did he come today?” he wondered. His feet ached almost as much as his head.
His list contained names of several people who claimed they wanted nothing, but he knew their feelings would be hurt if he didn’t buy them something. Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, he considered gift buying anything but fun. Hurriedly, he filled his shopping cart with last minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. He picked the shortest line but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minute wait. In front of him were two small children – a boy of about 10 and a younger girl about 5. The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his very dirty hands. The girl’s clothing resembled her brother’s. Her head was a matted mass of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers.
As the Christmas music sounded in the store’s stereo system, the girl hummed along – off key but happily. When they finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure. The clerk rang up the bill. “That will be $8.09,” the clerk said, as the boy laid his crumpled dollars atop the stand. He searched his pockets and could only come up with $3.12.
“I guess we will have to put them back, “ he bravely said. “We’ll come back some other time, maybe tomorrow.”
With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. “But Jesus would have loved these shoes,” she cried.
“Well, we’ll go home and work some more. Don’t cry. We’ll come back,” he said. Quickly Roger handed the cashier a five-dollar bill. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, “Thank you, Sir.”
“What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?” Roger asked. The small boy answered, “Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Dad said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus.” The girl spoke, “My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won’t mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?” Roger’s eyes flooded as he looked into her tear streaked face. “Yes,” he sputtered, “I’m sure she will.”
I hope we can all let God use these children to remind us of the true spirit of giving. Christmas is not about the amount of money paid, nor the amount of gifts purchased, nor trying to impress friends and relatives. Christmas is about the love in your heart to share with those as Jesus Christ has shared His love with us. Please show this love to others this Christmas. Keep your eyes and ears open. There are opportunities around you every day, even while you’re shopping.