The Person in The Last Paragraph

I try to start my day off by reading a devotional from Daily Guidepost. Key word is try. I succeed most days.

Last Friday the 19th the verse anchoring the story was 1 Corinthians 16:14 – “Do everything in love”. This can sometimes be, shall we say, challenging.

As evidenced by my markings in the photo above, the last paragraph of that story really got my attention.

The writer tells of visiting an estate sale where the neighbors had placed signs in their yard reading, “no parking towing enforced”. All yards that is, except one.

One home owner had instead chosen to put a colorful sign in a flower pot that said, “Okay to park in my driveway. Enjoy the sale”. Refreshing indeed.

Instead of dancing to the music of the neighbors drum, or even the world’s drum, this owner was dancing to the beat of his own drum? Thoreau would have approved.

In our day to day life we can, often unintentionally, allow the world to influence us. Tell us what we should or should not do. What we should or should not tolerate.

What the world tells us is often in stark contrast to what God tells us.

Sure, there are laws and customs and norms for society but what about things that fall squarely under our own personal discretion? Things such as choosing to be generous, or not. Letting something bother us, or not? How about whether to act in love and kindness, or not? All choices.

Here is an example from my life…….

Years ago, I saw an elderly man that does yard work for a neighbor many doors down raking and taking away, without permission, the pine straw that had fallen in my yard near the street. My yard and my pine straw. It bothered me.

This happened on several occasions as the years went by and it bothered me every single time. I never said anything. I just chose to let bother me. I carried it around with me. Call it emotional baggage.

About a year ago as I was leaving home for an appointment there was this same man at the end of my yard, raking away. I stopped my truck and got out to talk with him.

I introduced myself as did he. It was hot that day and I had a couple of cold drinks in my cooler. I offered him one and he accepted. I Offered him one of my turkey sandwiches and he accepted that also.

We ate and talked for about 10 minutes. Somewhere along the way I asked him if he went to church. He said with a big smile, “oh yeah”. Told me he knew the Lord and when he died he was going to heaven. I said, me too. I wasn’t certain of this a few years ago.

Before leaving I told him that he was welcome to my pine straw anytime he wanted it. He thanked me for the straw and the lunch. These days when we see each other we wave and say hello.

When I drove off that day I left that emotional baggage I had been carrying on the street and I made a friend in the process.

Here is the writer downer……………

I haven’t given the pine straw a second thought since that day. More importantly, I cannot give a single reason I was even bothered by it for all those years, except for one.  Because the world told me I should be.

Just like the world might tell the neighbors that they should not allow strangers to park in their driveway or in front of their house if there is an estate sale across the street. It all comes down to choices.

When life gives you the opportunity to choose, and it will, “Be the person in that last paragraph”.

You will give others permission to do the same.

Get in the boat. Do your part.

Shane / #16


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