So, a few weeks ago, I was driving around minding my own business, running a few errands.
After stopping at the bank, I was heading back to my car when I noticed a person holding a sign at the entrance to the parking lot.
Yes, one of those very sad souls.
You know, my husband and I always make an effort to help people who are asking for money. Yes, we've heard all the arguments about what they might do with the money. But we aren't concerned. We want those people to know that someone saw them and cared, and we want them to know that they are never forgotten by The One.
So, I start reaching for my wallet.
And then it happened.
I heard a still, small voice say to me, "Give him $20."
I NEVER give that much. NEVER. And so, I'm thinking maybe I just heard wrong.
But no, the Voice spoke again.
"Give him $20."
Well, it was hard to argue. I thought of excuses. My last one was my best – "I don't have a twenty-dollar bill." But of course, I did – I had just walked out of the bank.
At last, I reached my car and got in.
And then I whispered the truth, "Lord, I don't want to give him $20. That's a lot of money."
He answered, "Do it anyway."
So, with a big sigh, and a begrudging heart, I got out of the car and made my way to the homeless man.
I handed him the money and said, "The Lord told me that you needed this today. I hope it blesses you."
And then I waited.
I waited for his effusively grateful response. I waited to be told what a kind and generous stranger I was. I waited to be applauded for being so unselfish.
He did sorta mumble, "Thank you." But that was pretty much it. I sorta muttered and grumbled all the way back to the car. Truthfully, my inner dialogue went something like this:
"Well, I hope you're happy, Lord. I did what you wanted. And it wasn't even appreciated."
Well, as the day went on, I did feel better about the whole thing. I had listened to the inner prompting of my heart. I had obeyed the compelling of the Spirit. And even though my *aftermath* reaction wasn't perfect, I had acted.
At the time this happened, I was in town visiting with family, so I was out and about for several days.
So, it figures that a day or two later I see the SAME guy in the SAME place, still asking for money.
OK, so now all sorts of evil thoughts start running through my head.
"Boy, Sharon, you sure got taken. That guy's probably a professional beggar, making tons of money each day. Look at him working that corner."
I'm also not really thinking great things about God making me do such a stupid thing.
But, again, He spoke to me.
"Sharon, you're completely missing the point here. You giving that money away had nothing to do with the homeless man."
"The whole thing was about you. Were you willing to do what I asked you to do, even if it didn't make sense, even if it hurt a little bit?"
"Yes, about YOU. And you know what? You obeyed. Well done, faithful servant."
Faithful, muttering servant, I said to myself.
But He just smiled.
I ponder this.
How often do we encounter situations like this? Situations that test our listening skills, and stretch our obedience muscles.
How often does God seek to take our discipleship temperature?
I'm sure you can think of at least one time when God called you to do something that you didn't want to do. Something that didn't make sense, something that hurt a little bit...or a lot.
What did you do?
You see, sometimes the situation isn't what it seems. It's so much more. For instance, my test wasn't about generous giving. It was really about my WILLINGNESS to obey.
Not the money, but the motive.
I think if we really turn our ears to listening, we'll hear God quite often during the day. And I think He'll really be asking this, no matter what the particular situation is:
"Are you willing to do what I ask?"
Obedience isn't convenient – it isn't always rewarded either. At least not always in a way that we can see.
I wanted praise from the homeless man – but I really got nothing.
But trust me, my act did NOT go unnoticed. I was observed by The One. And I know that He will reward me.
Now, every time I drive down this particular street, I still see the same guy. It's been well over a month since I gave him my money. Yeah, I still feel a little bit of cynicism over the whole thing. But that quickly dissipated the other day when I had this thought – I wonder if that guy's an angel? What if he's just standing there day after day, offering tests to God's servants? Giving us opportunities to listen and obey?
And so, I'm practicing listening to God, even if I don't always like what He has to say! And I'm praying for the grace and courage to act on what He says, especially if I don't like what He has to say!
God spoke to Jonah, and he ran the other way. And then there was a lot of messy stuff involving a storm and a fish. FINALLY, Jonah obeyed.
But, I'm thinking…
What if we got it right the first time?
What if we chose obedience in the very beginning?
What could God do in us and through us if we acted on the Voice we hear?
I want to find out!!
To obey or not to obey,
that is the question.
"And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded." (Matthew 10:42, NLT)
"You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35, NLT)
"But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.'" (Jeremiah 7:23, NASB)
When was the last time the Holy Spirit compelled you to do something? Did you do it?
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY
Jen at UNITE
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Shari at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Gail at TGIF
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
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