Twice a month I kneel and pray, "Lord please just let me BE your love. Let them feel you tangibly through me, and KNOW that you love them." Then I go to the church food pantry and pray with the guests and for that hour and a half I am blessed with the gift of being His love. This has become the highlight of my month and one of the joys of my life. He always answers this simple prayer. At first, I was surprised at this but I'm not anymore. What I've learned about God through this experience is that He very much wants everyone to know that He loves them. He wants everyone to be able to experience His incredible love. He will use anyone who is willing as a vessel for His love to flow through...even me. I also realize that I have endless opportunities to be His love that I never noticed before. This morning my eyes were opened to just one of those opportunities.
I hate grocery shopping. It really doesn't matter what store, I just hate it. I feel like I am ALWAYS at the grocery store, which makes me hate it even more. If you know my husband, he is partially to blame. His stomach is a bottomless pit. Then there are the kids, my oldest has a hollow leg. She can pick and snack all day long and somehow doesn't look like I ever feed her! I too am part of the problem. I make grocery lists, buy the groceries, and then return home to find I forgot to put something on the list. So, when I am at the grocery store I have a one track mind. I want to get in and out of there as quickly as possible. I have often thought this is why I tend to end up in the line with the blinking light. God must want to teach me patience! That is... I thought this until today.
Today, I was in the line with the blinking light again! As usual, I started standing on my tip toes (don't laugh, it's not nice to laugh at short people) to see if any other lanes were moving faster. They weren't. As I stood there waiting for a manager to help the lady ahead of me, I couldn't help but notice a few things. She spoke very little English but seemed to understand the cashier just fine. She had two little boys with her and the hold up was due to her having a W.I.C. check. She kept trying to tell the cashier that she only had eight dollars left after that check to pay for the rest of the food. The cashier would have to stop ringing things up once she reached the eight dollar limit. She didn't have a lot left, but based on what was left she wouldn't be taking home much more than her fruit. As I stood there for what seemed like forever, the Holy Spirit whispered the words, "You pay for it " to me. To which I replied, "But I don't know her, and I've never done anything like that before." Then I heard Him say again, "You pay for it and tell her I love her." Now, I understood. This was an opportunity for God to let someone else tangibly feel His love.
The manager came, the light was turned off, and I paid for her remaining food. At first she didn't understand until the cashier explained it to her. Just when I was feeling really awkward and uncertain, the woman began to cry. She walked over to me and gave me a huge hug, and I was able to say to her "God loves you." As the words came out, she shook her head yes. She understood. This was the joy of my day! Today, I LOVED the grocery store!
I share all of this because it's the first time I realized that I need to pray the prayer I pray before food pantry, every single day! It makes me wonder how many opportunities to be His love I have missed. Every time we come in contact with another human being, we have an opportunity to BE His love! Think about that for a moment. Now ask yourself, how many times in the course of just one day do you come in contact with another human being? If you're like me, it happens quite a bit at places like home, the grocery store, the post office, church, work, or your children's sports activities. That's a lot of people and a lot of opportunities!
Right now we find ourselves in the season of giving. We just finished Thanksgiving and are headed to Christmas. What greater gift can we give than to be God's love to a hurting world? So many times we feel spent, like we have nothing to offer or we aren't fit for God to do anything with. It's not true. If we belong to Him, the Bible says that we have "this treasure in earthen vessels". (2 Corinthians 4:7) We are those earthen vessels and He is the treasure. We may only be made of earth, but we are still vessels. That's just it...that's all He needs. He needs a vessel, and the vessels He has chosen to use are us. If He could use me today, He can use you. There was nothing special about me. I was just a vessel He used to love someone. It only requires being available and obedient.
I am excited to go to the grocery store again...okay maybe that's a stretch! Let me rephrase. I can't wait to spend the rest of this month asking Him to let me be His love. I look forward to seeing Him answer that prayer wherever I go because I know His love is the greatest gift that I could ever have poured out of this earthen vessel into the lives of others. Will you join me during this season of giving? Will you pray this same prayer each day and be a vessel that God can use to love others? Be warned, He may ask you to say or do things that are uncomfortable, but I promise you it will be the joy of your life!