Are you headed His way?
Ruth was an elderly woman, alone in the world and living on social security. Like many seniors, she often ran out of money before she ran out of month. By carefully eliminating unnecessary expenses (like a car, movies, and the daily paper), she had learned to get by.
One Saturday morning, she went out to her mailbox. In it there was only one envelope. She thought it strange, because there was no stamp and no postmark, only her name and address, carefully handwritten on the envelope. She opened it and read:
I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I’d like to stop by for a visit.
Love always, Jesus
Her hands were shaking as she carried the letter in and placed it on her kitchen table. “Why would the Lord want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer.”
With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. “Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner.”
She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents. “Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.” She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of french bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk, leaving Ruth with a grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday, when her next check was to arrive. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.
“Hey lady, can you help us, lady?” Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. “Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it.”
Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad, and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. “Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. My twelve cents isn’t going to do you any good, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight, and this little bit of food is to serve to him.”
“Yeah, well, OK lady, I understand. Thanks anyway.” The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned, and headed back into the alley.
As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. “Sir, wait! Why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.” She handed the man her grocery bag.
“Thank you, lady. Thank you very much!” The man’s wife chipped in, “Yes, thank you!” Ruth could see now that she was shivering. “You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street, without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.
“Thank you lady! Thank you very much!”
Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit, and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.
“That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day.” She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.
It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.
Love always, Jesus
The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed. The scripture came to her mind, “As many times as you have done it to one of these least ones, you have done it to me.” Ruth realized that this was not her first encounter with Jesus, and would not be her last.To be humble is to recognize gratefully our dependence on the Lord—to understand that we have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgment that our talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that we know where our true strength lies. We can be both humble and fearless. We can be both humble and courageous. (lds.org)
Not only can you be simultaneously humble and courageous, but true courage is actually a result of having the humility to recognize our inadequacy and depend on the Lord. By depending on the Lord, and working for Him as you find the needs of those around you, you allow Him to use others, like Ruth, to meet yours.