Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RACK day 12 ~ "Awesome!"

Another super fun anonymous one!  I had to do some grocery shopping yesterday afternoon and we typically go to our Aldi store in Elyria.  Yesterday though, I needed to pick up some craft supply things and that is in Amherst.  So in the interest of two birds, one stone, we headed to the Amherst Aldi.  Our initial plan was to stick quarters in a bunch of the carts, but when I tried to go to the bank, they were closed (who closes in the middle of the day on Monday when it's NOT a holiday?).  Humph!  The kids were disappointed but I filled them in on a possible Plan B.  We would get a gift certificate while we were at Aldi and give it to someone we felt was in need.  We got the certificate (it wasn't much, but you don't need a lot to get a good amount of food at Aldi), but we couldn't really find someone we felt we needed to give it to.  I was about to give up.  I thought that I could just hang on to it and take it with me the next time I went to Aldi.  I went to return the cart and I noticed an elderly man getting his cart.  He walked slowly, with a cane, but he came prepared with his reusable Aldi bags.  I went up to him, handed him the RACK card and the gift certificate.  I told him that this was a gift certificate to use in the store.  He looked up at me with absolute shock.  He started to question me and I simply said, "Merry Christmas!"  I put my cart away and he was still standing there reading the RACK card and still in shock.  He started to question me again, and again I simply wished him a Merry Christmas.  I had to walk away quickly as I was both wanting to burst into gleeful laughter and cry at the same time!
Right as I was giving him the gift certificate a woman was walking out of the store.  She noticed what I had done.  As I made my way back to my car, I passed her and she said to me, "That was awesome!"  She wasn't parked very far from me, so I got another RACK card out of my car.  I walked over and handed it to her and told her that this would explain what my family was doing this Christmas season.  I wished her a Merry Christmas and started back to my car.  She immediately started reading the card.  When I was about to get in the car, this lady raised the card over her head and shouted, "THIS IS AWESOME!"  The kids just loved that!  
As we pulled out of the parking lot, we all had smiles just bursting on our faces.  Michael thought it was so cool that we RACKed two people at the same time.  Two different people were able to see the love of Christ and were left with a message and verse that might help bring them to salvation.  Isabella quickly disagreed with her brother though.  She said, "We've RACK'd WAY more than two people!  How many people have we RACK'd, Mom?"  To which I could answer thirteen.  That sent the kids into a bit of a tizzy.  (Yes, this is deliriously fun!)  They started talking about all the people that we have tried to minister to and wondering how this could change their lives.  They talked about how we need to pray for them.  They asked if we could do this all year long.  I talked to them about how we need to look for ways to be a blessing to others in our everyday life.  Even in the small things.  I also told them about The Birthday Project and told them that I wanted to do that for my birthday in July, but that we could do it for their birthdays, too.  They were so excited!
We are only half-way through this journey, and yet I feel as though we have been incredibly and richly blessed.  I love that this is changing my children's perspective from all the "getting" of Christmas, to the giving of Christmas.  I love that my children are so anxious to pray (sometimes fighting over who gets to go first) for those that we have RACK'd.  I love that they are looking for ways to bless people and their focus is slowly turning a little more off of themselves and more onto the needs of people.  I'll give an example (and I'll try not to brag).  Sunday night after the RACK we did for our church, my husband and I had choir practice.   As we practiced I observed my ten year old son performing a RACK of his own.  If you read the previous post, RACK day 11 ~ Phew!, you know the current circumstances with which we are dealing regarding our church building.  You will also know the great amount of work that has to be done every Sunday morning and every Sunday night.  Anyway, Michael started helping out with all the clean-up.  He likes to work and just about every Sunday evening he tries to help out our pastors and a couple other people that stay later to clean up.  He absolutely outdid himself last Sunday.  He helped put away chairs and tables, he swept the floor, he emptied the trash cans and took the bags to the dumpster (plus he put new bags in the trash cans, something I have to remind him to do at home all the time.  Hmm?), he packed up all the food stuff that we brought and took most of it to the car (he wasn't allowed to carry the one fruit basket because it was heavy and the basket was a bit weak), he vacuumed the hallway, he helped take hymnals out to the church van, etc, etc, etc!  I was just beaming to watch him do all these things, without being told.  I was so very, very proud.  I couldn't help but think that part of that is due to our RACK journey.  It is a journey.  This has gone so far beyond a project that has a definite completion.  This is a journey that we have started and I pray that we can continue these things in our day to day well beyond just Christmas and our birthdays.  We are called to be servants, not self-serving, "I'm in rush and have important things to do", push others aside type of people.  Be cautious that you don't get so involved in "organized" ministry that you overlook the little things (and people) God puts in your path that He wants you to bless.  Every person you meet, God has ordained for you to be there at that time, with that person.  This makes me think of three things:
               1) A quote that I saw at a friend's house that reads, "A man too busy to pray is a man that is busier than God wants him to be."
               2) Another friend of mine owns his own business and as busy as he is from time to time, he consistently looks for ways to minister and witness to and pray for those that he interacts with on a day to day basis.  It is humbling and convicting to hear him talk sometimes.  
               3) What is becoming kind of our "theme" verse for this journey, James 2:15-17 "If a brother or a sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?"  I can't fix the world.  I can't give every homeless person a home.  I can't reach across the entire world and share the Gospel.  What I can do though, is to support ministries that are doing these things.  And I can try to reach the ones in my little world in Wellington, Ohio.  Mother Teresa is credited as saying, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."  Pray that God open your eyes today to some small way you bless those that come across your path.
Have a blessed and Merry Christmas and keep checking back to see how God is working!

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