By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director, Missionary for Missions Education/Customization, Missions Innovator Specialist (SBC-WMU)
Recently a friend sent an e-mail titled, Perception. My plan was to scan the story and file it away. After scanning a few sentences scanning changed to reading and reading to contemplation. If the e-mail had arrived on any other day it probably would not have spoken so loudly. But today…it spoke loudly.
Are you wondering what was in the e-mail? The e-mail was the story of a man dressed in semi-shabby clothes playing his violin in the D.C. Metro Station. Only a few stopped to listen and even fewer placed money at his feet. Later the audience who barely listened that day learned that his name was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He was playing an extremely difficult piece on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Just a few days before he had played for a sold out audience in Boston with seats averaging $100.
The people moving about the D.C. Metro Station had missed it. Not once had it occurred to them that this man was offering something for free that most would pay hundreds to hear.
Why did it mean so much to me? It was the third time I had been reminded, “Don’t miss this.” Just a few days before at “Breathless,” Carrie McDonnall, a former missionary to Iraq, was telling her story. Carrie was caught in a terrorist attack along with her husband and three other missionaries. Carrie was the only survivor of that attack. In the midst of her crisis, Iraqi men came out to help her. They carried her out of the car, covered her legs with her skirt, and called for help. As she told her story she said, “Don’t miss this act of kindness.” For a Muslim man to touch a woman, even more so one covered in blood, defiled him for prayer. The help that was offered to her was a huge act of kindness.
Also at “Breathless” the drama group, FlashPoints, talked about our lives being God sightings. They said, “Don’t miss this, you just might be a God sighting for someone in need of God.”
I began wondering what all I was missing and I was reminded, “Don’t miss this….life and relationships.” The American culture is busier than ever. We multi-task, we go from early morning to late night, we walk around with some form of a to do list, and we focus on getting through the day. In the midst of it all I wonder if we miss $100 performances, acts of kindness and God sightings.
From Genesis to Revelation God tells us we are here for relationship – relationship with Him and relationship with others. Eve was created for Adam to have relationship, Jesus spent His days on earth with 12 men for relationship, and God calls us daily to have a relationship with Him.
It is through relationships that we hear $100 performances; when our friend gives us the perfect advice, words of encouragement, prays with us, holds us accountable, cries with us, and laughs with us. When the words are just at the right moment it is equal to a $100 performance.
It is through relationship that we experience acts of kindness both as the receiver and as the giver; when we sit with a sick friend, when we take dinner to a friend who is on overload, when we babysit, when we receive a surprise gift or when we share a cup of coffee. Even a text message can save the day. Acts of kindness, they’re amazing!
It is through relationship that we have God sightings; when we see God answer a prayer, when we see God change a life, when we see a cancer patient find strength through God’s grace, or when we see a friend remain kind to someone who was not so kind. John 13:34 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (ESV).
Relationship itself is a God sighting.
Regardless of our schedules, relationships are essential. Women on Mission groups, myMISSIONfulfilled groups, Bible study groups, or affinity groups are a great place to plug into relationships. Try it. You just might enjoy $100 performances, acts of kindness, and God sightings. Don’t miss this….relationships!
Adapted from Gayla’s article on MyMissionFulfilled.com.