Gallatin CARES is a local help center that has a food pantry, thrift store and worship services that are led by my friend, Jane. I love this place and have been drawn to it for years. I started off just finding GREAT deals in the store and dropping off used goods to show my support. Only recently did I make time in my schedule to stop by on a regular basis and I wish I had done that sooner!
Actually, it sounds like now I go to help at this help center. And, I do….but, let’s be realistic. I go for pretty selfish reasons. I go because I love to see God at work in that place.
Yesterday I met a gentleman in a wheelchair helping out who has only one leg, his name is George. I tried to open the door for him and he thanked me but told me he was used to handling it alone. We then started chatting a bit and he told me about his wife who was running the cash register in the thrift store. He said they’d been married for 36 years. He then told me he had the secret to a successful marriage. He mentioned that many of his friends didn’t want to know it or didn’t care what it was. But, he said many of them were NOT married any longer anyway (hhmmm, that is worth noting). So, of course, I had to ask him what the secret was. He boldly told me that the answer is COMMUNICATION! And, not just idle chit-chat about who is going where today but finding out how they feel about things. George told me that he listens to his wife. He listens when she is mad at him and not just when she is praising him. He listens. He said the key is not to argue, but to let her speak her mind and he gets to speak his mind too. They listen to each other, the good and the bad. And, he told me they’d been through some pretty tough times.
God calls us to communicate. Not just with him (prayer) but also with each other. We are to build each other up and encourage one another. There is another man that works at Gallatin CARES who reminded me how important this is a few months back. His name is Randy. Randy told me that last Easter the people of Gallatin CARES Church asked him to play Jesus in a skit. He couldn’t believe it. He told me that his long hair and beard like Jesus did make him “look like Jesus”, but he never would have thought that hewould be asked to be Jesus. He also told me playing the role of Jesus was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
About a month ago, Randy was in a hit and run accident while riding his bicycle. He was left overnight on the side of the road. Amazingly, he is fighting and healing. But, I was told that they did have to shave his beard. As Randy heals, I pray that he can find Jesus inside of himself without the beard that made him look like a character who could play Jesus. His church, Gallatin CARES, is communicating with him how much Jesus loves him and helping him see that inside of himself. He communicated with me how that made him feel.
In college I studied Communication, Sociology and Speech. I thought I would work in a television station (which I did for a little while) as a journalist. I would dig deep to find the answers to all of life’s mysteries and share those with the world. I’m not on the news. But, I realize now that I am still a journalist. I’m digging deep to find the truth about God. I’m listening and watching stories unfold. I have opportunities to share those stories but most importantly, I can listen and encourage others to share their stories. I may not be “live at 6″. But, I am doing the most fulfilling job I’ve ever been given the opportunity to live.
And, I’m not glad I went to Gallatin CARES yesterday because I got a J. Crew shirt for 50 cents (although that shirt, the hand crocheted afghan, swimming trunks for Drew and super cute clothes for the niece and nephews at 50 cents each were a plus). I’m glad I went because God was shown to me in a big way because people took the time to tell me what he was doing in their life. And, I chose to listen.
So, put on your listening ears and be reminded today that by listening to God’s work in the lives of others we are listening to God. How can you listen to God? Who could you listen to today? What stories of God’s work in your own life can you share so that others may listen? Let us put on our listening ears and receive the peace he promises us:
“I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints.” -Psalm 85:8
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson,
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC