Yes, we’re already publishing articles about Christmas!
It was evening, fairly late at night, and a night or two before Christmas. I realized I needed something else from the corner drugstore, so I headed out to do my hunter-gatherer thing.
I’m going down the aisle and I can’t help but notice this bedraggled Mom and some kids; 3 little kids. They were bedraggled far beyond what we would be accustomed to in our area. It was not ripped jeans cool. It was just ripped jeans. It wasn’t Bed Head cool; just bed head. Those weren’t even SECOND HAND CLOTHES, they were THIRD HAND CLOTHES and those kids weren’t just TIRED looking, but UNBATHED and just sort of sad. The Mom looked COMPLETELY WORN OUT!!
They Looked Like Refugees
I went on through to the next aisle looking for my stuff and saw a man kneeling down and looking at something or picking up something from the shelf.
And I thought, ‘that guy matches those people in that aisle over there” and they look the same; this guy with holes, not cool guy holes in his pants, but just….. just sad. They all had those TIRED EYES.
So I got the stuff I needed and put it in a little basket and I went to the cashier.
The cashier was one of these young, bored-looking guys who was polite because he was on the clock and was likely counting the minutes until his shift was over. I put my things on the counter and I took a 20-dollar bill out of my pocket and I said,
“I just want to give this to a family that’s out there in the aisles.“ I said, “You’ll recognize them… it’s a Mom and a Dad and 3 or 4 little kids; they look pretty beaten up by life and look like they could use a break.”
And cashier guy is suddenly paying attention and says, “WHAT?” I said, “ I just want to add 20 bucks to whatever is their total and help them out”. And he goes,” I’VE NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE IN MY WHOLE LIFE! THIS IS AWESOME! Yes Sir! I’ll take care of it! This is awe – sommmme.” So, I said, “You’ll recognize them; they need it a lot more than I do”.
And he assured me that he would handle it. “THAT’S AWESOME MAN; THAT’S JUST AWESOME!”, he said as he scanned item after item into my small basket. It was almost like I had let him in on a secret or something. I just gave him the money and I paid for my stuff and I walked out. And I honestly wasn’t thinking anything other than it felt like what i had done seemed like the right thing to do.
I got to my truck and climbed in, and before I reached to turn the key, I paused with this vivid image in my mind of what had just taken place. I reached into the bag containing my purchases and I pulled out my receipt.
Cashier guy had been SO EXCITED HE JUST SCANNED THINGS…THE SAME THINGS…OVER AND OVER…And I was charged 13 dollars more than what I had bought!!!!!
Now, I’m sitting there in my truck thinking, “What do I do with THIS new revelation?” This kind of stuff ALWAYS happens to me! No. I didn’t go back in and ask for a refund. I did what my heart had told me to do and it just so happened that Walgreens benefitted a bit from it too. I turned the key and headed home with a smile.
So…we’re faced with moral dilemmas all the time.
That certainly wasn’t a life or death situation, but it was one that forced me to sit and think about what this means to the Kingdom.
- WHAT AM I?
- WHO AM I?
Am I impacting that family that I will never see again?
Am I am impacting the cashier who I may never see again?
This isn’t just about helping the needy, or being good to people at Christmas. THIS is about the heart of God. THIS is about seriously asking the now commercialized question, “What would Jesus do?” It is about breathing in and out the breath of God in every step of life. It’s about KNOWING that we have the HIGHEST calling as followers of Jesus.
It’s like the famous Newton’s Third Law, only it’s about life. For every breath you take, for every step you take, there is an earthly and heavenly repercussion.
LIKE IT OR NOT, YOU ARE AFFECTING OTHER PEOPLE.
Get Out There
So we all need to view OUR CALLING as just that. God has created us to be a LIGHT to penetrate the DARKNESS. Get out there. Get out there and do what you are supposed to do. Live with a higher purpose than yourself.
Listen to Psalm 19 from The Message:
The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The sign posts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life maps of God are right, they will show the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and they’re easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is 24 karat gold with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the imp degree.
God’s word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in the Spring, better than red ripe strawberries.
And there is more. God’s word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise, how will we find it, right? Or know when we play the fool.
Clean the slate God so we can start each day fresh.
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work.
Then I can start this day sun washed and scrubbed clean of the grim of sin.
These are the words of my mouth. These are what I will chew on and pray.
God accept them when I place them on the morning alter.
O God, my -Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar. Amen.
Editorial note: Christmas is around the corner. We would love to share more stories about how you turn this holiday on it’s head and focus on the birth of Jesus over the consumerism we’re usually confronted with. Submit your article ideas here and MERRY CHRISTMAS! Too soon? That’s fair.
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Michael Adler has served the local church as a Worship Pastor for all of his adult life. After 22 years of leading the Worship Arts Ministry at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, he is now the Dean of the Worship Division of the Strength to Stand Institute with the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association. This “trade school” of sorts is dedicated to equipping with practical, sustainable and Biblical tools those called to ministry in the local church. With professional credits including TRUTH, Promise Keepers, the Billy Graham Association, LIFEWAY, he is also a published composer, arranger and clinician. Michael has served in an advisory capacity and guest teacher for several Christian universities and seminaries in the areas of worship leadership and the local church, and regularly coaches worship leaders and teams in practical tools for effective and long term ministry. Outside of the promise of eternal life, Michael considers his greatest gift to be his wife, Linda, a professional vocal coach whom he met while recording daily television shows and specials with the Oral Roberts television ministry in the 80s. Together they have four sons and a growing list of wonderful daughters in law and live on 8 gorgeous acres just outside of Birmingham. There they own and operate their premiere wedding venue, The Barn at Shady Lane.