I recently received an email from my mom that got me thinking. It’s one of those stories where fact or fiction is not important. It’s the heart of the story that really matters. I’d like to share it with you.
A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding…
ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.
He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.
He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her; no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.
The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.
When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay? She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”
As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, “Are you Jesus?”
He stopped in mid-stride … and he wondered. He gently went back and said, “No, I am nothing like Jesus—He is good, kind, caring, loving, and would never have bumped into your display in the first place.
The girl gently nodded: “I only asked because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples. He sent you to help me, so you are like Him—only He knows who will do His will. Thank you for hearing His call, Mister.”
Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: “Are you Jesus?”
It’s a good reminder, especially so close to Jesus’s birthday that we are all called to be Jesus to others. We know there are good, selfless people in the world that are Jesus to others in big and small ways, and it is good to recognize those people when they come into our lives. A recent example is the tragedy in Connecticut. From the teachers who gave their lives protecting their students, to all in the community and around the world who have done something to help comfort the grieving…all are being Jesus to others.
In a special way this Christmas, strive not only to be Jesus to others, but to recognize his presence in those around you.