1 John 4:11
Yesterday we talked about STANDING IN THE GAP for someone and I am sure that many of you know that I am going suggest to you that God wants you to take some action!
I am also very sure that many of you DO NOT LIKE THIS IDEA!
We all have visions of folks knocking on the door waving a Bible and warning about hell!
I DO NOT SUGGEST THAT YOU DO THIS!
However, today I just want to share one of my GOD STORIES that is now over 20 years old that might illustrate how very simple it is to STAND IN THE GAP and share GOD'S LOVE!
And I am going to confess right off the bat, that I was not smart enough to realize what was happening until after it was over! But this woman and her responses stay burned in my brain, long after this dear lady's life on earth is now over.
I was a food service direction in a large and luxurious nursing home. This facility had many wealthy residents, but little emphasis on faith. Folks there seemed to struggle more than usual with losing their independence and facing illnesses and the end of life.
Folks also complained a lot about the food in this place.
Especially Miss Klinkowsky.
She had never married, was in her 90's and had a private room.
NOTHING EVER PLEASED HER.
She seemed to enjoy telling me how a "waitress looked at her funny" or her vegetables were too soft, or too firm. Well, you get the picture. I did what I could with these complaints, but I really didn't know what I could do.
This facility also had many special events and the main reception area was not too far from Ms. K's room. So in an effort to appease her, I often on my way to check set ups, would stop and see her and take her favorite, a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
My agenda was two-fold. As a dietitian, I wanted to boost her calcium and caloric intake for this very petite picky eater, and as a food service director I just hoped to hear a few less complaints.
Most institutions keep a nourishment cooler/freezer on the nursing floor and we did, but they contained those Styrofoam cups with the paper tabs and you might guess - one of these DID NOT fit Ms K's idea of ice cream.
OH NO - she wanted hand dipped!
(Hey who can blame her!)
So as I would confer with the dietary staff that all was set up correctly for the conference room. I would often in my business attire - don a hairnet and get the big tub of vanilla ice cream out to scoop up a little bit of ice cream to take up on my run!
My visits at first were stiff, but as Ms. K got used to my stopping she knew that as the dietary staff passed her room, I would follow in a couple hours to bring her ice cream.
At times I would send other staff, and then if I came by later she would give me a hard time, because I hadn't come myself.
One week, I was at my wits end with her complaints and I almost didn't stop to take her that bowl of hand - dipped ice cream.
But as I tried to do other paperwork in my office, I couldn't get her out of my mind (I consider that kind of feeling now, to be the urging of the Holy Spirit), so off I went in my good suit and heels to dip up a dish and take one for myself as well to share with her.
Despite her complaints that week she was very glad to see me and even told me to call her by her first name that night!
I also asked her if she would mind if I joined her as I was having a tough day.
As we shared our ice cream together, she simply asked,
WHY DO YOU DO THIS FOR ME?
WHY ARE YOU SO NICE?
WHEN I AM SO MEAN.....
Again, I am so thankful that GOD gave me the words.....
I was quiet for a minute
and then I simply said,
I can only be this nice because of
the love of JESUS
and because I feel His LOVE
He LOVES YOU TOO YOU KNOW...
that's all I said......
She began to cry.
Then I told her,
I pray for you every day, you know.
(now let me also confess, I was not always praying for her soul, but for her to be nicer to my staff and to stop complaining so much)
She simply thanked me and changed the subject.
Because of the rigidity of our facility - I never felt like I could offer to pray or spontaneously share my faith, I wish I could tell you that I know she came to salvation before she died, but I won't know until I see glory myself.
But perhaps I did enough. I actually don't feel guilty for not offering to pray with her. I have peace about her.
This lonely lady needed to know she was loved.
Not by me,
BUT BY JESUS
For you see, after that night any time I took her ice cream, she just smiled and thanked me and half winked at me. It was like our little secret, and she was saying I KNOW WHY!
She still complained - sometimes, but not nearly as much. AND if others complained she often took them to task.
So while I didn't feel led to share my faith in words,
I shared it in deeds
deeds like hand dipped vanilla ice cream.
And just a reminder to all of us about all the people in our lives
WHEN SOMEONE SEEMS THE LEAST LOVABLE -
THEY NEED LOVE THE MOST....
That's the point of our Lenten Challenge - that folks who could use GOD's LOVE would receive it.
Don't need fireworks, don't need big words, it really could be as simple as a dish of vanilla ice cream!
Lord we thank you for the simple deeds that can be an expression of your heart of love. LET YOUR LOVE MOTIVATE US as we continue to pray for ____________. Give us right hearts about our prayers and motivate us to LOVE - for when we were still sinners YOU showed YOUR LOVE FOR US....
Thank you for YOUR PERFECT TIMING, THE URGINGS that call us that are YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK and THANK YOU FOR LOVE expressed in simple ways, like a bowl of hand dipped vanilla ice cream. AMEN!