The chickens were quite impressed by the goose and his stories. They asked him to tell more about his high-flying adventures. Soon, it became a weekly event for the goose to entertain all the barnyard birds. They even provided a box for him to stand so everyone could see him.
How does your church provide hospitality to strangers? A visitor wandered into a bazaar with a lost expression on her face. Immediately someone greeted her and showed her around. In a few minutes she was being introduced to others. Before long, she was sampling Brunswick stew and talking.
This can be funny but also it can be frustrating. Disagreements pose a danger of distracting us from our primary mission of showing the love of Christ. Our influence as Christians as seen by outsiders often centers on our ability to lovingly resolve disagreements, even minor ones.
“I’ve got an idea,” he said and picked up the phone and instructed his office manager to bring him a check for $743.00. Then he handed the check to me and said: “I want you to take this money and put it into one hundred different envelopes and give it to 100 people in need.” As I took the check and began to thank him, Mr. Riddle asked me another question. “Larry, this is my gift and I’m happy to do it. Now, the question is… what will you do?”
We live in a negative cat-kicking world full of failures, disappointments, back-biting and plain-old meanness. None of us are immune. To deal with the frustrations we need extraordinary patience and courage.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote: “I have learned the secret of living in every situation… For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”
Wouldn’t you love to have that kind of contentment? You can. The question is: How do you respond to having your cat kicked? How can we learn to respond like Paul, with gentleness and grace?
Occasionally, there are life-changing moments when God’s influence suddenly shines where it’s needed most and the only word that adequately describes what happens next is miracle. My friend and his wife witnessed such a miracle.
Surfers dared to be different. Most teenagers wore blue jeans with buttoned shirts, but surfers wore corduroys with holes in the knees, T-shirts with surfer logo’s and tennis shoes with no socks. We drove mom’s car, but surfers drove converted vans with boards on top. Thanks to the influence of Beach Boy’s music and movies, surfers were cool dudes and I wanted to be one.
We’re learning as a church how to step outside our comfort zone and meet new people, hear more stories and be alert for opportunities to make an eternal difference. One way, I challenged myself to “Walk Across the Room” was by working a few days in a local Grocery store. My goal was to work in another environment and see how I could better practice on Monday what I preach on Sunday.