Store clerks and restaurant servers work so hard this time of year, and they surely put up with a lot of cranky customers who have had enough of the hustle and bustle of the season. Let’s go out of our way to spread Christmas cheer to those who are running the register or stocking the shelves. Let’s say a heartfelt thank you and give a genuine smile. Look clerks in the eye and let them know you appreciate their help.
If you want to go the extra mile, sit down and write a few Christmas cards with words of encouragement and Scripture, and keep them in the car, ready to distribute at the drive-thru.
This is a story that has circulated the internet many times. It is a true story that displays how often we humans take beauty for granted. Please enjoy this story and think about the challenge I’ve posted at the end.
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was music playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother dragged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for awhile. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100. This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.
Dear friends, here is my challenge: Let us never be so busy that we can’t recognize the beauty of God; let us never become so accustomed to His goodness that we treat it casually. Happy Thanksgiving!
Some of the best ministry we can do has nothing to do with the work of our hands, or the words we say, but is instead the comfort and encouragement we can give when we’re willing to love people with a listening ear. Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak (James 1:19). Who needs a listening ear this week?
What will be the conversation around your Thanksgiving table this year? Children will be listening (even if you’ve put them in the corner at a card table). My children love to hear me tell stories about my childhood or even stories from my adult life, because I’m letting them get a wider view of who their mom is. Suddenly I’m not just the woman who checks their homework and stirs the macaroni and cheese, but I’m a real person on a life journey.
The most important stories we tell our children are the stories that teach them something about God. When Joshua and the children of Israel crossed the River Jordan, God instructed them to set up a stone memorial, saying, “That this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?'” (Joshua 4:6). This Thanksgiving, be ready to tell your children some meaningful stories of spiritual markers in your life, times when God really came through for you in an amazing way, to give your children courage to follow God as they walk in your footsteps.
Out of the abundance of the heart (the) mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
Complaining, cursing, gossiping and the like…these aren’t just from a lack of tongue control. Jesus said that speech indicates what is overflowing from our hearts.
Listen carefully to your words this week. Take time each day to write down what you hear yourself saying. Is your heart putting words of praise in your mouth, or complaints? Is your heart filled with bitterness that leads to criticism, or do you speak words of encouragement from a heart of grace?
People are so bold these days, openly rejecting God’s authority. “Who needs God anymore?” is their battle cry. What’s it going to take to make hearts of stone melt?
When Joshua and the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River to begin their conquest of the land God had promised them, word began to get out that God was doing miraculous things for the Israelites because they had His favor. A woman in the soon-to-be conquered city of Jericho told two Israelite spies, “As soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11).
People of God, let’s begin talking about the mighty power of God. Let’s spread the word that God is breaking sinners’ chains, He is setting captives free, and He is exalting the humble. Let’s turn some heads to look full into the face of Jesus Christ, the King of glory. Let people hear the marvelous works that God is doing! When people see the power of God, hearts will melt and change can begin.
I’m a holly jolly holiday girl. I love the parties and gatherings, and don’t get me started on my favorite holiday movies. Hustle and bustle, managed properly, can really add to the fun of the holidays, but too much hustle and an overdose of bustle can squeeze God right out of the holiday season. And that would be tragic.
Just like you calendar the office Christmas party and block off time to spend with your family during the holidays, decide now – before your calendar gets filled – when you’re going to spend extra time with God this holiday season. Make that time special, and enjoy spending time with your Best Friend.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
God is calling us to Courage.
When Joshua stepped into leadership after Moses’ death, God said to him three times, “Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6). Moses was dead, but God hadn’t gone anywhere. Part of God’s call to courage was to have the strength and courage to obey God’s Law.
Christians in America, we see with our eyes that the former golden days when God was respected in society at large is now gone. That era is dead, but God hasn’t gone anywhere. We are now being pressured to end our uncompromising stance on God’s Word. Brothers and sisters, hear God calling us to be strong and of good courage! We must humbly, lovingly, yet courageously take our stand that God’s Word is true and relevant today, and on that we will not compromise. As Jesus told Satan, we live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
It’s a crazy thing but so true. The one thing that most people positively hate to do is – (gasp and wince for affect) – ask for help.
Let’s all agree, the holiday season brings such potential for joyfulness and merry hearts, but all of this can be stamped out quickly when things get too stressful. So ask for help! Your precious niece asks every year if she can bring anything to help with Thanksgiving dinner, and maybe this is the year to let go of pride and let her bring her specialty dish. (Bam! Two birds with one stone; less stress on you, blessing and honor bestowed upon her.) If a friend offers to show up an hour early to help you with finishing touches for the Christmas party, say yes! That’s more bonding time for the two of you. Lay aside your pride. Ask for help, and enjoy the love that flows when we help one another.
Bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)