William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once sent thousands of Christmas cards around the world with only one word written on them:  Others. We should all be so mindful of others. There is a great old story I would like to share with you today and during this Christmas season that serves to remind us of others-
An old cobbler named Conrad had a dream that the Lord was coming to visit him. So he washed the walls of his small shop and his shelves until they shined. He decorated his shop with holly and fir. He put milk and honey on his table to offer to his special guest. He sat down and waited.
As he was waiting, he saw a poor barefoot beggar walking in the rain outside his door. He felt sorry for the man, invited him in and gave him a pair of shoes. His clean floor was now dirty from the rain and mud.
As he was about to clean it up, he noticed an old lady who was bent over carrying a heavy load of firewood. He invited her in to sit and rest, shared some of his food with her and walked with her, helping carry some of the wood.
When he returned to his shop, he thought of all that needed to be done. He began to clean again and hoped he had time to find more food, but just then there was a knock at the door. He answered hurriedly and it was a small child crying, lost and cold. He picked up the child, dried the tears, gave her something to drink, a cup of milk, and walked her to her home down the street and around the corner.
He hurried back to the shop. But now he was too tired to clean or find more food but he still waited. Evening came and he began to wonder if the Lord had forgot.
Then he heard a soft voice break the silence in that shop, “Lift up your heart, for I kept my word. Three times I came to your friendly door, Three times my shadow was on your floor. I was the beggar with bruised feet; I was the woman you gave to eat, I was the lost child on that homeless street.”
Conrad smiled to himself, put his feet up on the table and settled back in his chair to pray and talk with his Savior so fair.
It’s a beautiful story and it reminds me of the powerful words of Jesus: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers of mine, you did for me.'” (Matthew 25:35-40).
Jesus thought of others and He teaches us to think of others. As we enjoy this Christmas with family and friends, let us embrace this season of giving by thinking of others. My wife and I love to think of others through our church’s mission offering (Lottie Moon) and through our benevolent offering (Christmas Eve Services). I hope you will as well…
Devotedly yours,
Pastor Ron

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