I think it goes without saying that this has been an unusually cold winter all over this hemisphere, so it shouldn’t surprise me that they are lots extremities out there that needs some warming. I have a tupperware container full of scarfs, hats, gloves, weird ear warmer thingies for runners–all things cozy and ready to brave the elements.
I also had a pretty awesome pair of Thinsulate gloves perfect for hiking, yes, slightly big and man-ish looking, but oh so warm. And, not coincidentally, I’d been reading the words of John the Baptist in Luke 11, addressing the crowd who were coming to be baptized by him:
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘ We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, ”The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
As I was coming out of our local farmer’s market a few weeks ago on a chilly day that was quickly getting colder, I passed this guy on his cell phone, God said, “Give that guy your gloves.”
Musta been hearing things.
I kept walking. I was in a hurry, I had to pick up Little A from school.
For me, the issue wasn’t about me giving up a pair of gloves, it was about me looking weird.
So, I made the excuse to God immediately after getting into the car: “I’ve gotta pick up Little A from school. I can’t be late over some silly pair of gloves.”
Don’t you love it how we try to reason with the Creator of the Universe?
So I turned on the ignition and found that I had ten minutes to spare. And I thought of Beth Moore and this lovely woman of God brushing a stranger’s hair… Grrr. I reluctantly retraced my path, looking for cell phone man outside, went back into the market and did a visual scan and, of course, he was nowhere to be found. I hadn’t memorized his facial features, I knew generally what he looked like and that he was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. My focus shifted then, there was a guy, somewhere in here who needed a pair of gloves, it didn’t matter exactly who, so I stopped the next person whom I knew worked there and who vaguely fit my mental picture and asked, “Were you just outside talking on a cell phone?”
Time running out.
Attracting strangers’ attention.
So I asked, “Could you use a pair of gloves?”
Yes, he nodded. Bingo.
Truthfully, I don’t think it was necessarily about the guy, I think it was about me (albeit reluctantly, embarrassingly, being obedient to God). The guy was grateful and smiled and said thank you several times so it seemed like he could have really used the gloves, but the point was for us to just do what God says. I wonder if there was any embarrassment on the boy’s part who offered the five loaves and two small fish, if the thought ever crossed his mind, “This is a little bit crazy.” Or, if he thought, “God told me to give my little lunch, so I’m just gonna do it.” Either way, I think 5,000 people were thankful for his obedience.