Five Life Lessons

Good morning friends.  My heart is heavy today because of the mass murder that occurred at Ft. Hood, Texas yesterday, November 5, 2009.  I work for the Killeen Independent School District just a short distance from where this unspeakable crime was committed.  Yesterday, during the event, we were all huddled around our computer screens watching the live news feeds and anxiously waiting to hear about friends and family on post.  Nine of our schools were locked down from 1:30-7:15pm.  We are all so proud of our staff at those schools who took excellent care of the children during this very tense time. 

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was about the events of yesterday and wondered what we could learn.  I searched some of my files and ran across this writing.  Again, not my composition but I share it with your for your encouragement today.  My comments are added.

1.  Remember the Cleaning Lady
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:  “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”  Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?  I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely, ” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.  My words:  I started my present job in the Killen Independent School District in July of this year.  Becuase there were only of a few of us on 12 month contracts, the building was fairly empty; except for the janitorial staff.  The first two people I met were Thomas and Mary (not their real names), our janitors.  I remembered this lesson and made sure that I learned their names.  They helped me move all my stuff into my office.  As I was decorating the walls of my office, in addition to my diplomas, I decided to hang my ministry credentials.   Mary saw this and asked if I were a minister.  I told her I was and she immediately asked if I would pray for her son; which we did, right then.  Friends, every conversation we have is an opportunity for ministry.   Learn their names!

2.  Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance, and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away… God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”   Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.  My words:  Ok, I don’t know if this is a true story or one of those modern myths, but the point is clear.  When confronted with an opportunity to help someone in distress, you NEVER know what might happen.  More than likely, you’ll get a “thank you” and that will be enough.  This side of heaven we’ll never know how our service to others has affected others for eternity.  Serve someone today.

3.  Always Remember Those Who Serve Us
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.   My words:  I went to luunch with two of my colleagues yesterday.  We went back to a restaraunt where we had been only one time before, just a few days earlier.   We sat at the  same table and had the same waitress.  She not only remembered us but somehow remembered what we each had to drink.  I was amazed at her.  She had big smile on her face and obviously loved her job.  She was there to serve our meal, but instead she blessed me.  She earned a big tip from me.  Today, as you have opportunity, encourage those who serve you by being a big tipper!

4.  The Obstacle in Our Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!  Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.  My words:  What obstacle is in your path today?  I know some of you are battling disease, grief, lonliness, and heartache.  Your obstacles seem insurrmountable.  As you deal with the huge boulder in your way, know that God has a reward for you.  It may be during this life or in the life after, but there is a reward!  Keep striving to move that boulder! 

5.  Giving When It Counts
The story is told of a young girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”. Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.  My words:  Last night before I came home, I went by Scott and White Hospital here in Temple to give blood.  Ten of the soldiers who were shot yesterday were transported here for treatment and the call went out for blood donors.  I got to the hospital at about 6:45pm and couldn’t even get in because the line to donate blood was so long!  Those who serve us by putting their lives in danger needed our service yesterday and people from Central Texas showed up!  Here’s the lesson, today you’ll have an opportunity to give of yourself to help someone.  It may seem like a small thing, but in God’s economy, all those deposits we make are huge!  Be a servant today, give of yourself and let God do a great work through you.

Be encouraged my friends!

Randy

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