Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it, and you’ll start believing in it.
Friday evenings, weather permitting, the pastor of a Protestant congregation stands on the slope of the grassy, tree-shaded knoll where his edifice is located. He chooses a spot above the gully – one affording him a great view of the traffic on both sides of the road at the intersection where his flock worship. Clothed in his ministerial garb, he smiles and waves to passers-by who catch his eye. Although the church’s marquee usually features pithy, attention-getting quotes intended to remind and invite believers to join his spiritual community, on Friday evenings he’s the main attraction. He appears during the afternoon commute, when traffic volume is substantially higher. His presence offers relief, a de-stressing glimpse of kindness asking nothing in return. What a gift!
Imagine how pleasant it is to look through the window of your vehicle and be greeted by a comforting smile and a wave. This vision is a stark contrast to the men and women standing, or sitting, on the corners of major arterials holding up crudely-lettered signs begging for money. And how often do we encounter the least of these in the course of a weekly jaunt along the same route, or during the weekend?
The reverend is visible to everyone open to receiving the gift of a friendly face, a warm smile, and a wave. He doesn’t carry a sign, nor does he speak. There’s no music or additional distractions. He stands, patiently, smiling and waving. His presence is a potent reminder of how much a random act of kindness can do to lift spirits, reduce blood pressure, and invite a moment of peace into the lives of people who may never fellowship with his parishioners.
For many the daily grind is so intense sunshine, laughter, peace, and caring get lost in a collective sense of urgency which says there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything needing, or requiring, attention. Therein lies the dichotomy of the offer of a gentle, loving smile and a wave from someone who seeks nothing in return – during a routine traffic stop! He is there offering a break to those burdened down by the vagaries and vicissitudes of life. A smile shared in love with no strings attached lightens the load and reminds each recipient someone cares enough to give food for the journey. What a blessing!
This clergyman’s presence is free of charge. He stands, for a time, as a beacon of hope and the possibility of refuge from buffeting winds, competing demands, and stuff that gets in the way. He is a temporary buffer between the trials and tribulations stacked sky high from a tough day, a long week, or a rough patch whose beginning is hazy and whose end can’t get here soon enough. His wave says to each person who accepts it, ‘You’re special This one is for you!’
Friday evenings, weather permitting, the pastor of a Protestant congregation stands on the slope of the grassy, tree-shaded knoll where his edifice is located. He chooses a spot above the gully – one affording him a great view of the traffic on both sides of the road at the intersection where his flock worship. Clothed in his ministerial garb, he smiles and waves to passers-by who catch his eye. This afternoon, he’s the main attraction.
The service he renders emanates from his heart. His face reflects years of pastoring the seekers, the needy, those with shattered hearts and broken spirits, those who live, love, and strive to do the best they can as joyously as they can, the bereaved, the lonely, and the confused, buttressed by an innate understanding of yearning. Those who gaze on his craggy countenance realize he understands! He gets it! The smile, the wave, and the gleam in his eye become even more precious because they’re free and offered in love!
“…When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:31-40, The Message (MSG)