I needed some radish and some peppers my husband liked with anything I cooked with broth. If not for these needed ingredients, I didn’t feel like dashing to the nearby grocery store as I would rather be cooped up inside our home, in my PJ, and just planned to stay that way all day. I knew the sunlight was deceiving as it shone brightly but the beautiful rays were not yet enough to warm up the blistering cold of the winter mornings.
“Merry Christmas!” I heard him yelled out to every person who walked into the grocery store. People either seemed to be in a hurry or were trying to avoid his way as many were hurting at this economic times, no one greeted him back. But he kept greeting everyone whether he got a response, even a smile or not. Tirelessly swinging the bells in his right hand, he kept a big smile painted on his face despite the numbing cold of air that brushed against his already red face.
Then, it was my turn to meet him on my path…
“Merry Christmas!” he smiled at me.
Unbeknownst to him, I had been contemplating on my response. Few steps before meeting him, I had already seen and heard many others who had ignored him. I always thought that even if I didn’t want to greet him, there was Someone Who could see my actions. Then again, He also could see even with what was on my mind before I acted on them.
“Merry Christmas to you, too! Thank you!” I replied as I paid back the smile he had been wearing endlessly, my steps continuing toward the entrance of the store to get the things I needed.
It only took me less than five minutes to gather everything I needed for the planned dinner as the lady from the cash register handed me back my change. I got some loose change and some dollar bills. I put them all back in my purse except for a dollar bill I wasn’t planning on depositing into that red bucket outside at first, was now intended to be given for whatever purpose it might serve, pooled with the other people’s donations. I knew I didn’t have to, but at that moment and in the verge of crossing path again with the pleasant volunteer, I was sure that I wanted to…
“I hope you get more!” I stated as I slid the bill into the bucket. His smile grew bigger and with twinkling in his eyes, he thanked me.
I knew it wasn’t about the dollar being donated to help others that prompted me to do that. It was about acknowledging the man’s presence, his volunteering, his smiles, his greetings to everyone who walked into his place. He didn’t have to do that but he wanted to, knowing that many were in need. He was giving a part of his heart that chose to labor for advancing the work of God.
Anyone born of the Spirit is indeed a part of the Salvation Army, that of Christ’s! Like that man, may we never tire in doing our work because for those who are willing to serve, God always has a place for them. In God's economy, nothing runs out because it is His love that is being circulated among us. Like that volunteer, what a beautiful day it will be for anyone if we all learn to acknowledge a person, greeting them from our hearts, showing them warm smiles even if they are not responding back, ringing the bells of freedom and making others who don't know Christ about the freedom He gives, tirelessly. Because no one knows what a rough time one could be going through and just that act of kindness, a simple act of kindness, coated with Christ's love sometimes, is what it takes to make someone see the love of God.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)