Posted in Family, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, missions, priorities, Scripture, thankful, travel

Small Changes….Big Difference

Sell your possessions and give to those in need.” Luke 12:33

I could see them flashing a mile down the road. They were two senior adults—just two of the many special people I have met and known over the years.  These two folks had a special heart for giving and not just giving but giving so others could know the same God they did.  Though they gave generously the way others did they had a couple of other ways that were pretty special. And that is why it wasn’t uncommon to see them pulled off the road on a busy highway…flashers flashing.  I know it caused people to wonder.

On any given day, you could be driving down Highway 51 near Cobden, Illinois and see a nice, new Cadillac on the side of the road.  With their emergency flashers warning oncoming traffic of their presence, you might think that they were broke down and needed assistance but that wasn’t the case. They would be…picking up cans.  Yup…that’s right.  They would regularly, and I do mean regularly, go out on the highways and byways around Union County and gather cans to sell and recycle.  You might wonder why since usually folks’ pickup cans because they have a need. Some may have seen the Cadillac and thought them greedy but there was a different story in the making.  There was a need, but it wasn’t theirs…it was people all around the world who needed to hear about their Jesus.

You see, everything that these two collected when they sold their cans went to fund missions—telling people about Jesus. How about that?  They could, and did, write a check but this was their special way of giving.  Oh, but that wasn’t all.  Everywhere they went, they would be sure and keep their eyes…on the ground.  Yup, that’s right.  They were looking for change that people dropped and believe it or not…they found a lot.  Every year they would make a trip to California to see family.  They would stay for several weeks and would always come back with a story—and more money for missions.  It was not uncommon for them to find not a few dollars but more…a lot more.  And guess what?  Yup, that’s right…every dollar went to missions. They told me one time someone saw them either picking up cans or change in California and thinking they were needy…gave them twenty dollars. They explained, but the person insisted they keep the twenty—and share it around the world.

While their example can teach us many lessons there is one that deserves our attention today.  You see, they had learned that small things can add up to make a big difference. There is no telling how many thousands of dollars in cans and change they gathered to give away.  It was their special way, an unusual way, a unique way…to give. You see, small things can add up.  I read something the other day that was crazy.  Get ready.  The story said that the TSA, the folks that run security at the airports, find an amazing amount of change at the security checkpoints.  You know the drill; people have to empty their pockets to go through security and apparently a lot of folks drop their change on the floor or leave it in the bins and it all adds up. “How much?” you ask?  Well, in 2019 the TSA collected a whopping $900,000 in change. You read that right—$900,000. That is just crazy amazing.

In case you are wondering, theirs doesn’t go to missions but they do have to report to Congress how it is used.  Usually, it is something mundane like buying supplies.  How boring. While I am impressed by the amount, I am much more impressed by the heart and soul of two seniors who picked up cans and change to make a difference in the hearts and lives of people everywhere.  That, Grits family, is pretty noble and pretty amazing.

So, what can we do to make a difference in the lives of people?  Now this story happens to be about two Jesus people but making a difference isn’t limited to people who follow Jesus.  We all can make a difference.  Hey, why not find a way, even if it is small and simple, and start making an impact in your world?  Jesus told a guy in the New Testament part of the Bible who had a lot of stuff, “Sell your possessions and give to those in need.” Sounds like yard sale time to me!  Remember, the smallest thing can be made big in the hands of God. Need some ideas? Wondering how? Just ask and the God of Generosity will fill in the blanks.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, missions, prayer, Scripture, travel, Trials

Don’t Move

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

Sing it, Willie, sing it.  It was around noon on a Tuesday in July when I could once again hear Willie’s words rolling around in my ears.  Yup, we were “on the road again” and this time we were going on a really long and really big adventure.  My wife Judy and I, along with a couple of our friends, were going to England on a mission trip to love on some folks from Africa who now live in England.  Africa has long held a special place in our hearts, so we were really excited about serving those special folks.

You probably have already figured out that we couldn’t drive to England, and you probably also know that these days anything to do with airports and planes can be just a little chaotic.  Well, this time was no different.  We got checked in, they were kind enough to relieve us of our luggage and then it was time to go through security.  I’ve done this enough to know the ropes. I wear pants that don’t require a belt and shoes that don’t have laces.  I put everything possible in my backpack, so my pockets are all empty…just the way the security people like it.  Check, check, and check. Not only was I on the road again but I was ready to roll through security.

Soon it was my turn to go through the security thingy.  There are two kinds of machines that they use.  First is the metal detector thingy and then there is the body scan thingy.  I drew the body scan thingy.  So, you step into this booth thing, put your feet on the two yellow shoe spots on the floor, raise your hands above your head and wait.  The person causally says, “Don’t move” and this thing takes a picture of your whole body and makes sure you don’t have anything that you shouldn’t.  Well, my rolling through security was about to hit a snag.  And it all started with me trying to do the right thing.

As I stepped into the booth and raised my hands, I quickly glanced down and noticed one of my feet was not on the yellow spot. So, I slid my foot over.  Unfortunately, that was just about the time that she mashed the magic button and, well, I failed the test.  She asked me to step out and told me, “You moved.”  Well, I said, “Well, let’s just do it again.”  “Oh no,” she said, “anyone who moves get a special prize.  You get to have a full body search.  Please step over here.” Bewildered and wondering, I stepped over.

Soon, there was an officer, explaining and apologizing for what was about to happen.  There was no magic metal detecting wand, no, he had to check me out…carefully.  So, well, it wasn’t fun, it was embarrassing, and I learned an important lesson about those two words, “Don’t move.”  You see, in the end it didn’t matter that my intentions were good.  In the end it didn’t matter that I was trying to do the right thing.  The only thing that mattered is that I moved…I broke the rules and because of that there was a price to pay. Bummer.

Well, here is the deal.  That is true in airport security…trust me, I know.  But it is also true in life.  We often seem too think that the rules of life were meant for someone else.  Or often we just assume that we can get a “do over.”  Well, here is a news flash.  The rules of life apply to everyone…the rich and famous and the everyday Joe.  And very often, there is not a do over. There’s an old saying that says, “do the crime and you’ll do the time.” Well, I sure learned that applies to airport security. Smile.

One of the things I love to share is that when God gave us the Bible it wasn’t to hurt us…it was to help us.  It wasn’t a book to put us in shackles but rather a Book to set us free.  I know that when I pay attention to His Word, I have fewer regrets and smaller circumstances.  Trust me…it is true.  So, even if you aren’t a God person, you might want to check out the Bible.  It sure seems that life just goes better when we follow His rules and take His advice.

In the Bible it says that God’s word is like a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path. If you’ve ever walked in a dark room or down a dark path, you know the value of a flashlight.  Starting today, why not let the Word of God be your flashlight?  Better yet why not invite God to be your guide? After all, He knows the way, has never made a mistake, and is just waiting to help you. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne