Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yesterday I was stopped at stop sign waiting for the light to turn green, when I noticed two women crossing the street in the opposite direction of each other.

One woman was pushing belongings in a shopping cart, and the other was carrying her day within her brief case.

As the two women approached each other the one who was pushing the shopping cart stopped in the middle of cross walk and said, “Isn’t today a beautiful day?”

The woman carrying the brief case answered, “Define a good day?”

My window was rolled down so I turned my radio down so I could hear the woman’s answer.

She simply looked up and said, “Any day that I wake up, and am able to walk to where I need to be, and my shopping cart is full, is a good day.”

The woman with the brief case looked up and said, “Well you better pray that the wheels on your stolen shopping cart don’t break then.”

The woman with the shopping cart then replied, “If it does I’ll just grab another one. I own the store and am delivering groceries to the woman down the street.”

As the light turned green, both women continued on in their direction, and I sat for a moment (there was no one behind me) and I watched as the woman with the shopping cart continued on with a smile and the woman with the brief case couldn’t seem to find hers.

All afternoon I kept thinking about what I had witnessed, and it reminded me of a story that my grandfather shared with me when I was a child.

My grandfather grew up during the Great Depression and one afternoon his mother asked him to go to the bank to make a deposit. When he walked in the manager called him into his office to speak with him, and while he was in there he looked over and saw a man who was wearing a very expensive suit and shoes. When the manager saw the man he continued on talking to my grandfather. A few minutes later a man walked into the bank wearing torn pants, ripped shirt, and shoes with holes in them, and when the bank manager saw him he leaped over the table to welcome him.  When the bank manager returned my grandfather asked, “Hey, how come when the man wearing the expensive clothing walked in the door you didn’t look twice at him, but when the poor man walked in you leaped over the table to greet him?”

The bank manager replied, “The man with the expensive suit borrowed the money from us to buy it. The man in the torn clothing owns the bank!”

I now understand the story my grandfather was sharing with me. Never judge a shopping cart by the person who is pushing it!

1 You may be saying, “What terrible people you have been talking about!” But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things. 2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3 Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and not judge you when you do them, too? 4 Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin.  For yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin?

5 But no, you won’t listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God the just judge of all the world, 6 will judge all people according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who persist in doing what is good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and practice evil deeds. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on sinning— for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 God will punish the Gentiles when they sin, even though they never had God’s written law. And he will punish the Jews when they sin, for they do not have the law. 13 For it is not merely knowing the law that brings God’s approval. Those who obey the law will be declared right in God’s sight. 14 Even when Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right. 16 The day will surely come when God, by Jesus Christ, will judge everyone’s secret life. This is my message. Romans 2: 1-16

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