As I drove down I-5 today, G-d began to bring different parts of my trip to mind. I started to think about what I had learned, and what opportunities G-d had given me to minister As I thought over the trip, I really began to get a sense of what the L-rd has been doing in my life through this journey. I began to see how I was growing, and what the Lord was teaching me. I thought about what I had learned at the ranch. I thought about the homeless man named Kevin that rode with me the other day. I thought about all that the Lord was showing me about relationships and people. I thought about the prayers that I shared with a friend recently, and the relationships that have come out of this journey.
Then I began to think about other things. I thought about the girl named Mandi, who spoke to me about trusting in the L-rd, counting on his promises to meet our needs, and how it was not irresponsible to follow G-d, even when it meant not making money. I thought about how I failed to listen like I should, because I was allowing myself to be distracted by thoughts of someone else that I wanted to speak to. I feel like I have lost part of the message that the L-rd was trying to give me, because I chose for that moment to delight myself in a girl rather than in G-d. I prayed today that he would give me that message again.
I also thought about another time when I failed on this trip. I remembered a woman in Modesto, CA who asked me if she could sing me a song for some money. I gave her some money, but I told her that I needed to be somewhere, so she did not have to worry about singing for me. I began to walk off, and she noticed that I had a lighter, so she asked me if I needed a cigarette. I told her that I only smoked a pipe and then I thanked her and left.
That may sound fairly innocuous, but the truth is that I took away that woman’s dignity. I should have taken the cigarette even though I would not smoke it. By not allowing her to somehow earn the money that I gave her, I made he into a person to be pitied. I wronged her.
It is funny to think that it was wrong for me to give that lady money when she wanted to earn it, but at the same time, G-d requires us to accept his grace without attempting to earn it. People who try to earn G-d’s grace are referred to in the scriptures as “White Washed Sepulchers.”
I do not want to be someone who tries to earn G-d’s grace, but I also do not want to be someone who misses opportunities to minister to other people.