by John Ferrell
There is another incident that I stumbled into that gave me the extra insight into the aluminum can story. I say “stumbled”, because again I almost followed logic instead of the Spirit; I accidentally obeyed the voice. One thing to note here is that no matter what you hear that gets you into action, follow it, even though it has nothing to do with the way things will turn out.
This event just happened a couple of months ago and is one reason I added this addendum. I deliver bread to grocery stores as my job. The bread business gives two off days a week, Wednesday and Sunday. There is another person paid to come in early on these days to fill the shelves from bread placed in the back room of the stores (a “pull-up“). One “off day” I was sitting at home, 5 a.m., when my intuition told me to go “pull-up” at one store about 3 miles from home. I tried hard to rationalize saying in my mind that Angie would cover it and that I didn’t need to go. The feeling never left. In fact, it only intensified. I couldn’t make sense out of it and besides it was my day off, right? I couldn’t fight the feeling anymore (sounds like a song, huh?), so I got dressed and went out.
I arrived at Kroger a few minutes before 6 a.m. Wouldn’t you know that there was a sign on the door saying closed until 7 for floor waxing. Still resisting I said to myself, “See, I knew I wasn’t supposed to come out here.” The feeling wouldn’t go away. There was a Meijer about a mile away, so I decided to check on it, all the while puzzled because I knew what I felt. Meijer had been taken care of by Angie, as I expected, so I could do nothing. I returned to the Kroger around 6:40. Someone let me in early because they recognized me as “the bread man”. A quick look at the shelves revealed that Angie had been here, too. Again, I could do nothing – the shelves were full.
Now I’m really puzzled. I knew what I was feeling, but it appeared that my mind was right, this time. I went out, started my car, pulled out of the parking lot, and stopped at a red light (Cox Rd. and Tylersville Rd.) While I was sitting at the light, a dilapidated minivan pulled into the left turn lane on Tylersville Rd., the cross road. They had to wait for a turn signal to turn onto Cox. Steam started pouring out the front of the van. At a glance, I thought I even saw a wheel missing(?). As I sat there, I wondered if this might be the reason why I got sent out. “But I don’t know anything about how to fix cars!”, I said half praying. My light turned green and I proceeded home, right passed them. The feeling got stronger, so I turned into a parking lot, turned around, and parked right behind them with my lights on. “How can I help these people?” I wondered. I did have a cell phone. The thought came, “Maybe I can call for help.” I approached the van and a lady stepped out, cell phone in hand. There goes that idea. “Ma’am. Is there anything I can do to help? I don’t know anything about cars, but I’ll help if I can.” “There’s a Carl Lindner Center around here, somewhere. Do you know where it is? My friend needs to get there for an appointment at 7 o’clock.” She pointed to an elderly lady in the van. Not quite clear, but wanting desperately to help, I lied, “Yes, it’s right up the road, here.” (The Center was on the other side of town, but she was so sure it was right here, within a mile).
It was now 6:50 a.m. I somehow felt conflicted, but maybe she said one thing and meant another. With a somewhat shaky reliance on the Holy Spirit, I helped the elderly lady into my car. To the younger one I asked, “Do you want to go with us?”, hoping she would say “yes” so she could guide me where we were supposed to go. She said “No, I’ve got help coming and I need to wait here. Thank you for your help.”
I jumped in the car, turned left and prayed for Divine guidance. Nothing. I said to the older lady in my car, “Good morning!” just trying to break the silence and to be friendly. We turned into parking lot after parking lot looking for this Center which I knew was on the other side of town, but hoping that they misspoke and that what they were really looking for was right here. I asked “What was the name of the place?” “I don’t remember. My mind is having trouble, that is why I have this appointment.” God, help me!! The younger one had a cell phone, but in the rush I didn’t get a phone number. 5 minutes to go. “Would you recognize the place if you saw it?” She said, “Yes, turn in here.” We backtracked. But she said “I believe this is it.” It was a Bethesda satellite hospital. I pulled up outside, helped her out and went with her inside, thinking “I hope this is it!” . As soon as she walked in they called her by name. 7 o‘clock. Whew! What a relief. Thank you Holy Ghost! I reassured her that I would tell her friend that she made it and left.
I drove back to the minivan, feeling a little more confident that the first part of the mission had been accomplished. Things were getting a little “dicey” there for a minute. “We arrived at the doctor just in time for them to call her name.” “Thank you so much!” “Is there anything else I can do?” “May I sit in your car to stay warm until the police arrive?” “Sure. Jump in!” She lit up a cigarette. No one has ever smoked in this car before, but I did not want her to feel uncomfortable, so I kept quiet. “Boy, my mom is going to kill me! She warned me not to bring this van,” she condemned herself. We made small talk for about 5 minutes, as I tried to encourage her. The police arrived, asked her a few questions, and then turned to me to ask who I was and why I was here. “Just stopped to help.” He said “We need more people like you in the world!” “No big deal, just trying to do the right thing.” I explained about the elderly lady and asked if I should stay to take the younger to her. He gave me permission to leave and said he would finish the job. I handed the lady what money I had, about 3 or 4 dollars, and left.
I had set out to do a “pull-up” on my bread and ended up helping two ladies in dire straits. Whatever the reason was that got me out there on my day off, God used that to teach me a lesson and at the same time be a blessing. By being a blessing, I received a blessing.
We get so caught up in trying to earn a blessing, by living right to please God, that we walk right past the blessings all the time. We try to live holy while missing the fact that holiness is no longer earned, but received. Jesus was holy, therefore I am. Jesus earned the blessing for me by being holy for me. It is what we throw around as grace, while not truly understanding or grasping what it means. Grace means that salvation, holiness, and blessing cannot be earned. How and why can I say that? If I earn anything from God then I have a reason to become prideful, “holier than thou”. God sought to level the field by taking away every reason that we could use as a weapon to condemn people or be proud. When God gives a financial blessing, it’s not because I tithed. If it is, then I can manipulate God into doing what I want, by doing what He wants. This is a friendship with God (John 15:15). I do things because He’s my friend and I love Him. I’m His friend and He shows me that He loves me by giving me my desires and vice versa. We don’t keep record of anything. We just love each other. Just like real human friendships or marriages, only infinitely better.
We laugh together, cry together. We talk to each other all the time. “Everything I do, I do it for You “-(another song). Even better, “everything I do, I do it with You.” And He says it back – “Everything I do, I do it for/with you.” Love doesn’t count how many times I’ve blessed Him to see if He returns it equally or more. We give to each other because we love each other. I don’t need to prove anything. The blessing(s) are already there and all I need to do is follow the Wind so I can navigate through the maze to be a blessing and at the same time get to the blessing(s) . God doesn’t condemn me and punish me, He gives me the Holy Spirit to find the blessings and if I follow the Holy Spirit, I receive them. If I choose to follow logic or my own understanding, only, I may bump into one now and then, because of His grace, but I will miss it mostly. If I miss, someone else misses out (the recipient).