Published April 28, 2015

Shelia Shares....
"Distractions – Or Opportunities?"

Recently I asked Paul why so many people seem to be talking to us when we take our regular walks downtown. I've come to the conclusion that everyone has a story. Everyone needs to know that someone cares enough to listen. When the door opens, through a smile or a greeting, they come to life and want to share.

As we started down the sidewalk, a man with his lawnmower was moving to a new section of his lawn. He waited for us and as we engaged in small talk, he jokingly offered to go for the walk and let Paul mow the yard. Paul declined the gracious invitation. We all laughed and we moved on.

Next it was a man sitting on his doorstep. He had an older large dog that saw us but never made any effort to greet us or investigate us further. The man greeted us, as he had in the past. We smiled, greeted him and continued walking.

A little boy came out of the row house trying to carry a rather large garbage bag. I commented on his load and how he did such a good job carrying it. He didn't respond and we continued walking. Suddenly he came to life and said, "My cousin is moving. This is her stuff." I stopped and told him it was nice of him to help. I turned around to continue walking, but before I could move, he said, "She's a girl," as if to explain why she needed help. We turned around again and smiled.

Of course, there were also "street people" who asked for monetary assistance. Once again, Paul provided a Gospel of John booklet with a dollar bill bookmarking John 3:16.

We do not stop people on the streets. But, whenever anyone asks for help, I take that as an open door to interact with them. When someone starts to tell us their problems, they have opened the door for us to share suggestions and point them to Jesus.

Too often we see people around us as distractions from what we plan to do. Too often we can miss the open door God has given us to talk about Him. Too often we don't think about how our encouragement can make a difference in someone else's life.

If God is central to our lives, it will bubble over into our conversations. Have you mentioned Jesus lately to anyone? Is He important in your life? Do others see Jesus in you?

- Shelia

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