Alli and I were having a girl day and were just hanging out wandering around and chatting. We decided on a whim to go into the new Dollar Tree store we saw. They have tons of stuff there and she loves to look at dollar stores where she can afford to get several things on her small allowance. But today was not a spending day – it was just a wandering day.
Truth be told, we wandered longer than I planned, and I looked at my watch and finally said, “Okay, we need to get outa here, girl!” So we made our way to the front and were behind one man. Alli looked behind us and saw an instant line of over 10 people snaking all the way to the back. We agreed we got so lucky! We just had a few things to get like sandwich bags and odds and ends. Nothing I would have wanted to stand in line 10 deep for!
The man in front of us put his three items all on the counter slowly. Alli was watching him closely. She took in his haggard appearance, his dirty stocking cap, his scruffy hair and beard, and his old torn jacket. He made you want to look no further but to avert your eyes and appear to over look him. It was uncomfortable to look closely. His hands were worn and hard. I chose to look closely and to see him as an individual and nothing less. His eyes, though tired, were clear and bright. He was a man with a life to live. He was someone’s son, brother, maybe a father.
He set his small purchase on the counter. It was a bag of egg noodles and two small cans of tuna. The total was three dollars and change. He slid his food stamp card through the slot and it was promptly rejected. With a line of impatient foot-shifters behind him, he nervously apologized and said he knew there should be money on his card. Could he try again? The man who was cashiering looked annoyed but allowed it. Again it rejected it and said he had a $0 balance. The cashier asked if he was going to use cash or what? He shook his head and said he was sorry – but no, he had no cash.
He turned to go and I reached out and touched his arm. “Sir, please take your bag. I’ve got it.” I nodded at the cashier and told him to put the three items on my bill. I would pay for his items.
Alli watched him as he told me thank you, bowed to me, and put his purchases in his trash bag suitcase and lifted it over his shoulder and trudged out into the blowing and swirling snow.
I paid for our few items, plus his, and grabbed my Alli girl’s hand and we blew out into the freezing parking lot. Alli looked up at me and said, “That was really nice of you, Mommy. That man was really happy.”
We settled into the car and I realized what a beautiful moment this was. Alli has heard about being the hands and feet of Jesus often – but this time we were able to SHOW it. I asked if she thought Jesus would have paid for the man’s food, or if he would have let him leave without it. She instantly said, “Pay for it!” Yep. Exactly right baby girl. He’d pay for it.
Then I told her that miracles did not only happen in Bible times, but still happen all the time. She was suddenly very interested in the next words to come. I explained to her that today was one of them, and she was here to see it. There was no plan to our day today. We did not have a clue that we’d end up at this store wandering. Not only that, it was at the exact moment the man was in line that we decided to go and found our way into line behind him. WE could not have found a way to time that. God however could! HE knew before we ever woke that morning that we would be there to help HIM provide for that man.
Over and over we are provided for when we really need it as a family. God always comes through for us, and often he uses others to meet our needs. Today? Today we got to help be the one to provide and meet for another’s needs.
“What you do for the least of these, you do unto me,” Jesus said.
Today we met a man. Today he gets to eat. Our three dollar purchase could very well be feeding him for three days. Today Jesus smiled at Alli, strengthened her faith, and fed her understanding of love, of Himself, and His love for us.
Thank you, Jesus, for allowing us to be your hands and feet today. Thank you for using us in the midst of our own trials to still minister to someone who’s need is even greater than our own. Thank you for providing for all the needs of your children when they come to you. You are amazing and always faithful.
Taken from a personal journal entry – February 2010 – looking back over the last year of amazing way’s God’s touched us…