“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I Peter 4:10 (ESV)
I grabbed my clear plastic drawstring bag filled with what I thought I would need: a banana, Gatorade, safety pins, a small towel, socks, Tylenol, and Body Glide. I quietly tiptoed across the hotel room where my family slumbered and slid out the door. The inky black sky enveloped me as I headed to the bus stop. The eerie early morning silence was soon broken by the casual conversation of the two young women strolling my way. As the three of us huddled together waiting for the bus, their chattered turned my direction and I was quickly carried into their conversation. The girl with the pigtails was from Denver and the one sporting a visor was from Chicago.
“Have you run Disney before?” I asked.
“This is our second time. We have made it a destination girls’ running trip. How about you?”
“This is my second time running at Disney, but it’s my first marathon.”
“Oh wow, that’s exciting! You are going to love it. Stick with us and we will get you to the start.”
I never saw Denver and Chicago again after that morning at the start of the Disney marathon, but I considered them a surprise gift from God especially chosen for me in that moment of my nervous need.
Denver and Chicago will never know what a difference they made in my life that day, but I will. You see I was scared and nervous. I was in an unknown situation, alone with a daunting task in front of me. It was hard enough thinking about completing the 26.2 mile course that awaited me, much less navigating bus rides, porta-potty lines, bag check stations, starting corrals, and 20,000 strangers, without a friend to help carry the load. I felt very small and alone in that moment.
You see gift giving doesn’t have to be elaborate and expensive. Sometimes the best gift to give is simply a smile or a word of encouragement that helps someone else make it through her day. Every act of giving, big or small, has both a giver and a receiver. You may never know how much your simple gift of kindness, friendship or encouragement, means to the one who receives it. The Bible challenges us to give out of our abundance to meet someone else’s need.
I Peter 4:10 states “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (ESV)
We need to give more than just tangible monetary gifts. People need gifts our time, words, and deeds as well.
I didn’t need anything that marathon morning other than a friend to walk beside me to the starting line. God knew that and strategically placed the gift of two kind friends by my side at the Disney bus stop.
So, let’s not be stingy with our words of kindness and our offerings of help to both the strangers and friends who are all around us. Someone facing an unknown daunting challenge may need you to be her Denver and Chicago to help her get to the starting line.
Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (NIV)
“Your abundance in the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply you need, that there may be fairness.” 2 Corinthians 8:14 (ESV)
Things to Ponder:
Who needs my gift of encouragement today?
Give the gift of kindness to someone today.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.