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DOUG CREAMER: Serving where he has us

Doug Creamer writes a religion column twice a month for the SNAP.

We have been trying to clean out closets and go through our stuff this summer.

Where did all this stuff come from?

How do you determine which things to keep and which need to go?

If someone gave you something but you have stored in a closet for over 20 years, is it OK to let it go?

I don’t want the friend to think that I didn’t appreciate their thoughtfulness.

The other day we opened one closet door…looked in and just didn’t have the strength to start. We have hauled away and thrown away quite a bit, but there is still plenty of stuff around here. I am beginning to realize that this is round one, round two will be next summer. We haven’t even worked in the garage or the storage building yet.

Last week we took a load of stuff to a consignment store. It was some of the “better” stuff that was heading out the door. I presented my treasures to the buyer who made me an offer. The offer felt low for the treasures I brought, but honestly, she was more than fair. After all, they have to mark it up and hope it will sell.

We walked around the store before settling up with the buyer. While she was writing the check I noticed that KLOVE was playing in the background. I made a comment that the music in the back was much better than that which was playing on the sales floor. She smiled and said it created a more pleasant working environment.

That launched us into a great conversation of how we are called to bring God into every situation, especially on the job. She talked about how she prayed each time as she approached her customers. She said she didn’t know how God might want to use her to offer a smile, an encouraging word, or even to pray with them. Some people who are selling stuff are in very difficult places in their lives and they need a comforting word. Others are like us who are just getting rid of old treasures.

What a great attitude to carry to work every day. God is sending people to you who might never walk into a church, but they are hurting and needing a word from heaven. If we are being sensitive to His presence and His voice, God can use us to be the life preserver that helps them make it through.

I think this lady has figured it out. She understands that we are God’s ambassadors. It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, doctor, buyer, waitress, or cashier at the store. God can use you to turn someone’s day around. It might be your smile, your greeting, or your friendly service that gives a person hope and a sense that they are not alone in whatever they are facing.

We all encounter people every day who feel like God and the world have forgotten them. We know that is not true. We know that we serve an awesome God who never leaves or forsakes us. We know that God loves us and forgives us in spite of our many failures. We know it, they need to hear it, and so God puts them in our paths.

Meeting this lady has reminded me that school will be opening soon. God has a plan. Some of the students will easily connect with me. Others will be like porcupines filled with prickly spurs. He wants me to encourage and speak a kind word to let them know of His love. I am His hands and His feet in my classroom.

This is a message we all can carry wherever we go, whatever we are doing. Maybe it is the waitress who comes to the table or the repair person working on the car, these are opportunities to let people know that God loves them. These are the ripe fields waiting to be harvested for the Kingdom. All of us are called and qualified to work in them.

I want to encourage you to look at the people in your life differently. Ask God to show you what they need. It might just be a smile, a warm greeting, a word of encouragement, or maybe even your prayers. God is ready and able to do incredible things through each one of us. We have to trust Him, listen for His voice, and take a step of faith. Who knows what miracle God will do through you because you are being His hands and His feet today?

Doug Creamer writes a column about religion for The SNAP.