Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)
By Edy T Johnson
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As the cluster of people exited the warm city bus into the frigid atmosphere, volunteering was the last thing on my mind. My entire workday had been full of serving others and I was tired. One more bus, from this transfer point to my little bungalow, and I could relish my solitude.
What happened next occurred so fast, I had no warning to even think. Moving with the small crowd toward the street corner, I noticed a tall elderly man just ahead of me. He teetered, like a bowling pin uncertain whether he would topple over or resume his footing. Before I realized what I was doing, I reached out to grasp his elbows. Obviously, his foot had caught a patch of ice and he threatened to go down, perhaps taking others with him, like that bowling alley scenario.
Immediately, he regained his balance and turned to look down at me over his shoulder.
"You dear angel!" He smiled with a look of gratitude on his face. "You can't know how wonderful it was to feel your hands, there, to steady me. Thank you."
"Well, I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time." I smiled back up at him.
We chatted a bit more to the corner where we went our separate ways. Just a simple moment in time, it was quickly put behind me in my desire for the comfort of home.
Over the past year, a particular emphasis at our church has served to bring this memory to mind. Our pastor initiated a "Knees and Sneeze" program. Slips of paper with half a dozen names, drawn both from our church directory and from those outside our immediate fellowship, were handed out at church. A short prayer included with the paper reminded us to pray daily for an opportunity to share Jesus.
The "sneeze" part has to do with our being "contagious Christians." As the Holy Spirit works in us, conforming us to the image of the Son, the gospel should just sneeze right out of us, "infecting" those around us with the seed of the Word. This is all part of our being God’s ministers of reconciliation in the world around us.
And so, I was once again reminded of the teetering old man, and my unplanned, spontaneous "volunteering" to keep him from falling. Perhaps, I might have saved him from a fractured hip. Perhaps, in his gratitude to me, he was prompted to give thanks to the Author of creation. As someone has said, "Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary use words."
The smile for a downhearted stranger, the encouraging word, the hand on an elbow to prevent a fall, all of these simple acts of volunteer action come from our Heavenly Father, reaching out through us. We don't even have to think much about it. It can, no it SHOULD, just “happen.”
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