Just so you know!
Yesterday, as I rode the 170 miles from Niceville, Florida to Prattville, Alabama I stopped for some gas and a bag of pork rinds at a small, country gas station. The pay at the pump option was broke so I had to go in and give the clerk some cash to hold while I filled up. She was not very friendly when I gave her the money or when I went back in for my change. Of course, if you don’t know I’m a Christian I’m sure I look a little strange, maybe intimidating with my wind blown long hair and beard, tattoos and a leather vest. As I grabbed my pork rinds and went back to the counter to pay there were two young men in front of me. After paying for their stuff the young lady talked to them for several minutes, seemed like 10, while I waited patiently. I overheard their conversation and when I did make it to the counter I light heartedly weighed in on what they were talking about. The young lady smiled and began talking to me, very friendly, before telling me to have a great day and to ride safe.
What I realized is that we are always planting seed. If I had not waited patiently, if I had said something in anger or frustration, if I would have even looked angry, I’m sure the young woman would have continued to be unfriendly to me. I planted patience and kindness, in turn I received kindness. In fact, I’m sure the young men also noticed that I waited patiently rather than getting angry.
I had the opportunity to get upset, I had a good reason to get upset, I could have justified getting upset, but I never have the RIGHT to act out in situations like this. Jesus Christ has purchased me at a great price. I never have the right to be anything other than like him. I miss the mark on plenty of occasions, and then, I harvest what I plant. It’s Gods principle and the world works according to God’s principles. We all plant what we harvest!
Let me back up just a minute. I was at a ministry the other night and I saw a big smile on a woman that I met about a year ago. When I met her, her boyfriend was in recovery but she was not. She had a couple months of sobriety but not recovery. She was carrying around the weight of the world and it showed. A year ago I could see the struggle, I could hear the struggle in some comments she made to me. It was clear that I needed to plant some seeds of kindness. As a group of us rode and hung out at the stops I was sure to include her as part of the group even though she was not a Broken Chains member. I laughed with everyone and listened as she and others talked about their lives. I did my best to be a good example of a kind, light hearted, happy, follower of Christ. I encouraged everyone to stay the course in their recoveries, to continue to plug in to the power Jesus has for our lives. I shared about the freedom, the happiness, and the adventure I’d come to realize since turning my life and my will over to Christ’s care and control. I talked about the importance of staying plugged in to this recovery process, this process that teaches how to live life on life’s terms.
A year later I came back to the same place. That young woman is now a Broken Chains member. She has a huge smile and she has 19 months of sobriety and one year of recovery. She is encouraging others, serving, and sharing about the blessings that she sees in her life today. What a change! Jesus has changed everything for her. Not because she met him but because she’s plugged in to the way He told us to live our lives. Through the process of recovery she’s letting him clean her up from the inside out. Taking away that infection, that cancer if you will that festers inside of us when we hold it in, when we keep it in the dark. She’s let the light shine in to her life, flaws and all. She is becoming a woman after God’s own heart and it blessed me immeasurably to see the change in her, for her.But the story continues. When I saw her boyfriend the other night I mentioned to him how happy I was to see the change, to see how happy she was, and that she had plugged in to recovery and to Broken Chains. I could have never imagined what he would say to me. He said, “Jeff, after meeting you and spending that
time together last year, she said she was all in!” In other words, the seeds I planted were producing a harvest beyond my wildest imagination. Keep in mind, it’s not my natural behavior or no credit to me for this.
All glory goes to God because it’s him that produces the harvest. I’m just a seed planter, in fact we’re all seed planters. But what kind of seeds are we planting?
That’s right, we’re all planting seeds everywhere we go. People are watching, seeing our behavior. It doesn’t matter if they know we’re Christians. You might be thinking, “I know I treated that person badly. But they didn’t know I was a Christian.” God knows! You see, it’s not between you and them anyway, it’s between you and HIM!
Just so you know, your behavior has consequences and rewards, Many times we don’t see the harvest of the seeds we plant. We could plant anger and frustration in someone’s life and they could go on to have a horrible day because or our behavior. We can also plant some kindness in someone’s life and it could change everything. I’m grateful when I get to see the harvest like I did this past week. I’m humbled that God could use a guy like me.
One day I believe we’ll realize the harvest of all the seeds we’ve planted, good and bad, as we stand before God. It’s not the measure that gets us in to Heaven but I believe it’s the measure that gives us our station in Heaven.
Don’t get upset for people who don’t know Jesus for acting like they don’t know Jesus. But encourage those people, love on them, treat them with respect, and they might come to know Jesus. You can’t light a path for others without shining light on your own path.
And if you do know Jesus……..act like it! That is all.