A pastor visiting in New Orleans was standing in line at a convenience store. He noticed that the family ahead of him couldn’t pay for the items they’d selected. The pastor touched the man’s shoulder and said, “Don’t turn around. Just take this money from my hand to buy your groceries.” The man complied, paid for the groceries and left without looking back.
Nine years later, the same pastor was invited back to New Orleans as a guest speaker. Following his sermon he greeted people at the door. One man stayed behind and asked the pastor if he could share his testimony with him. The pastor replied, “I’d love to hear how you gave your life to Jesus.”
The man explained that years earlier he, his wife and their child were destitute. They’d lost their jobs, their money was gone and they were living in their car. In despair, they’d determined to commit suicide by driving off a cliff.
However, they felt they should feed their little boy before he died with them.
They entered a convenience store, picked up a few simple snacks and got in the checkout line. When their turn came, they discovered they didn’t have enough money to pay. But at that moment a man behind them asked him not to look back, but to take some money from his hand. The man also told him and his family, “Jesus loves you.”
They left the store, drove back to the cliff and wept for 4 hours. They couldn’t go through with their suicide plan.
Driving away from the cliff, they saw a church sign that said, “Jesus loves you.” The following Sunday, they attended that church and both the man and his wife decided to become followers of Jesus.
By this time, both men had tears in their eyes as the man told the pastor, “The moment you began speaking I recognized your voice! You are that kind man from the convenience store nine years ago.”
We often feel that our efforts and contributions are miniscule…perhaps even meaningless. But this story underscores the fact that not only are small things meaningful, but they often have marvelous outcomes.
Jesus said, “If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded” (Mark 9:41).
In one of His parables He added, “’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:23).
“When I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I’m tempted to think there are no little things.” Bruce Barton
Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection