He approached where I was from my right. He moved so slow it was hardly movement at all. His bodily reactions were not fluid. He was an elderly man but there was more going on than the maturation process. I was riding, if you will, a stationary bike, sweating, breathing hard, all the stuff you do at a gym. As he approached the bike he put his hand out to steady himself on it never looking up at me. He reached downward toward the floor and retrieved a plastic strap for one of the other bikes which secures the feet while exercising. I thought to myself, “there is no way he is going to be able to get on much less ride a stationary bike.” But he did. I began to watch him as he moved from machine to machine with such deliberate effort it was almost painful for me, much less for him. But watch I did. He appeared to favor one side of his body as though he had suffered some type partial paralysis. But he refused to let it stop him.
As each of our workouts continued I wanted to engage him in discussion but did not want to interrupt his concentration. As I finished my last machine and he was in between a set of reps I walked by him, placed my hand on his shoulder and said, “I have enjoyed watching you work out today. You inspired me.” Then I left. At some point I would love to talk to him and explore his life, but, for today, I did my little part.
At times, we miss the opportunity of doing our own little part. Often because we view our little part as so insignificant, so minute, that we question what affect our life can have on anyone else, much less the world.
In the Christmas story, consider if any one of the characters had questioned and dismissed their role, their one little part, what would have happened. I would guess, that outside the angel Gabriel, no one could fully comprehend the overall plan that was unfolding. How could they? Much like us, we can not see the overall plan of God so therefore we often belittle our part in that plan.
Consider the prophet who foretold of the birth hundreds of years before it happened? Do you think he actually understood fully as to what would take place outside of his prophetic announcement? How could Mary, even as a central character of the plan, be able to understand the full effect of her role? That is why she, “pondered” all of these things in her heart. Joseph the earthly father, the sheperds, the innkeeper that turned them away, the Magi, even Herod the king. Each person had a part, some small, some large, but all very significant.
I am often frustrated…that’s not right. I am always and consistently frustrated by rah-rah preachers, teachers, motivational speakers, athletes, business leaders or rah-rah people in general. No doubt there must be passion in leadership but if you can rah-rah someone as a person into doing something, eventually they will run out of rah-rah and it probably wasn’t God to begin with, it was that person. God don’t do rah-rah. What He does is this. He makes us aware He has a role for us, a mission if you will. Some missions are behind the scenes, some out front. But none insignificant.
My mission today was to in a small way, encourage that man, to make him aware that someone had noticed his hard work and his refusal to accept his physical condition as it was.
Tomorrow, be aware of the seemingly insignificant mission. God will send you into someone’s life to bring Hope in a large or small way. And Hope is always delivered in a significant manner.
A friend of mine sent me a verse earlier this evening that is so applicable to this topic.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Do you think that God is so uninvolved in our lives that the very “God of hope” would give to us “joy and peace” so that we “abound in hope” and not want us to do something with it?
As we go about our activities tomorrow be aware of your surroundings, so that at the end of the day you can say to God and to yourself, “I did my little part.”