"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Steal the Joy!

It was a busy day at the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Expo. We had made contact with new people who wanted to be part of TEAM 413 all day, renewed friendships with folks from days gone by, and shared the message of TEAM 413 with thousands of people. Still, it would be the "least" of these who I would remember the most.

Late in the day a young boy about 8 or 9 walked by our booth. I watched him read the banner hanging at the back of our space. I saw him check out the shirts and other ministry tools that we showcase at marathon expos all over the country. He continued his stroll down the isle and he suddenly stopped, turned around, and walked up to the front table. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a crumpled dollar bill and dropped it in our donation container. Then, he gave me the thumbs up, smiled, and walked away.  

For a moment I thought about stopping him to give him a wristband for the donation, but I didn't because something inside me kept me from doing so. I believe if I had done this, I would have stolen the joy of his gift. He had pondered this for several minutes -- he had walked by and turned back around in a deliberate act of obedience to what I believe to be God working in his heart -- to have minimized that gift and the joy that came along with it would have been discounting the tug on his heart, the joy deep within, the goodness that he modeled.

Lesson learned -- "When God nudges someone to be a blessing to you through words or actions, never take away their joy by feeling like you owe them something in return. Their reward is in being obedient to the Master!" 

On the way home from Knoxville, Kiki was driving the rental van. She said that she thought we might have a flat tire. We pulled off to the side of the road and sure enough, our driver's side rear tire was flat. We pulled as far off the interstate as possible -- folks really drive fast and, quite frankly, don't seem to care about the safety of people on the side of the road.

We had to find and read the owner's manual to locate the spare tire which was underneath the van between the front seats. You literally had to use a special tool to lower the tire to the ground from the inside of the van! Then, the jack and tire iron looked like something that you would use to work on a toy car! I swear they turn changing a tire into an IQ test! I'm certain that the folks who make the cars have hidden cameras somewhere on the vehicle and they check out the video footage each day. I know they were laughing at us!

We were struggling with the getting to all the stuff, getting the lug nuts off, watching for traffic, and figuring out how to replace a full size tire with a tire half the size! We were surprised when an SUV pulled off the interstate in front of us, backed up, and a young man and his son got out of the car. We would later meet his wife as well. The family had been in Gatlinburg for the weekend and evidently felt compelled to stop.

"Need some help?" was music to my ears! They immediately jumped in and helped us get everything done and soon the job was completed. They cut the time that we spent on the side of the road in half! When we finished, we laughed about the tools that we used, discussed where the spare tire was located, and admired our handiwork. Before they returned to their vehicle, I asked them to hang on -- that I wanted to give them something.

The dad immediately said that it was not necessary, but I insisted. I asked Kiki to get three TEAM 413 shirts for them. After being presented the shirts and reading the back, the mom said, "I know that's right!" We talked briefly about TEAM 413 and our new TEAM MEMBERS were off to complete their trip.

Kiki and I also returned to the vehicle and we were on our way as well. God sent some angels to us. He aligned this meeting for reasons we may never know.  

"When God nudges someone to be a blessing to you through words or actions, never take away their joy by feeling like you owe them something in return. Their reward is in being obedient to the Master!" Instead, this time, I felt the nudge to do something for these wonderful people. They, too, learned to share in the joy that I had in giving them those shirts. Now they will enlarge the outreach of TEAM 413 in a way that we never saw coming ... God works like that! 

Enough writing for now ... I have to start reading about all the spare tire locations on different types of vehicles and the instructions on how to us the "Tonka Toy" jacks and tire tools that go along with them! If a gray headed guy with a very cute wife stop to assist you in changing a flat or lending a hand in some other way, let us help -- don't take away our joy of sharing it forward!

Under HIS Grace...


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