Core scripture: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
Message: Our family was in good spirits heading out to St. Louis for Christmas—until the check engine light came on about the time we passed Kauffman Stadium on 1-70. No biggy, right? Just get the car checked out the next day. Not so much. It was about 20 minutes later that I glanced down to see the engine needle had skyrocketed straight to “H” with no room to go. Translation: it was scorching HOT! There we were, barely an hour into our trip, and we had to get off at the nearest exit to have someone look at our car. After about six different phone calls, about to give up, my wife finally found a place about five miles up the road in Higginsville, Missouri called Shafer’s Car Care Center that could get us in that day.
I love small towns. Pulling into Higginsville was like pulling into a piece of the past. It just gave you a warm feeling. A feeling that everyone knew everyone in the town, and if you were down, the town would be there to pull you back up. We found Shafer’s midway through and were excited to find out it was connected to an old school diner, which meant we didn’t have to walk in the cold to find a fast food joint while they looked at our car. We walked in the diner to see all the tables were created from glass atop old tires. The walls were covered with memorabilia of the classics. Elvis. The Beatles. Royals and Chiefs stuff, too. They even hung some Higginsville letter sweaters straight out of the 50’s, and a jukebox rested in the corner.
The waitress greeted and seated us immediately. She was different than someone you’d find at a chain restaurant. Very sweet. Conversational. Authentic. She cared about us on a deeper level, and when she started hugging the regulars as they came in, swapping stories and catching up on their lives, I smiled to myself. We were home, yet we had never been there before. Make any sense? I didn’t have any conversations about her faith; however, I was not surprised to see a cross tattoo on the inside of her wrist when she brought our food over. It was just the way she carried herself. The way she interacted with us. The way she brought refills not out of obligation but out of the goodness in her heart.
The food was delectable. A heck of a lot better than anything we would have found with fast food down the road. My wife and I took our own two-seater tire table next to our boys separate table. Almost like a date! (The keyword there is almost.) The waitress glided through the diner, humming and singing to herself. I wanted to remark to her how well she sang, but she was busy. A one-person show. Playing the role of greeter, waitress, and cashier was the norm for her. I had this delusion that playing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” from the jukebox would lead to a slow dance with my wife. It backfired when I played the song and my wife chuckled, saying it was a breakup song. Maybe she had never seen Top Gun? Crashed and burned on that one.
Meanwhile, our car was being worked on through the other side of the doorway. We found out at the end of our meal that they repaired the radiator leak free of charge. They even provided us with two gallon-sized containers of water to cool our car if it overheated before we got to St. Louis, showing us how to fill it up. To top it off, they quoted us a price for the radiator and labor. Just to make sure we weren’t duped in St. Louis. I was overwhelmed by their genuine concern for our well-being. I took care of the tab with the waitress as my wife was getting all this information from the auto body shop. Their reasoning for doing all this for free? They just wanted to help a local traveler during the holidays.
The entire experience made me wonder. Do I conduct myself in such a manner where others know I am a Christian? Am I doing God’s Word on a consistent basis? Christians should be different. Philippians 2:15 remarks how we are to “appear as lights in the world” while the rest are “crooked and perverse.” A light. Not a bad way for Christians to be seen, eh? With those we know well and even with strangers, our lives should model the service my family experienced at Shafer’s Car Care Center. My family certainly could have experienced darkness that day; however, thanks to Shafer’s, we didn’t. This year you go do the same. Be a light in the darkness.
Song application: “Help Me Find It” by Sidewalk Prophets
If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it
Journal/Accountability: Write or discuss with an accountability partner about how you can be a doer of the Word in 2018. Set some goals based on your top ideas, and begin to put them into action.
Other Scripture: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:18-26).
How do James 1:22 and James 2:18-26 compare and contrast. What new truths are exposed in the scripture above?
Prayer: Lord, let me not just read the Bible; convict me to live it out the way You need me to. Amen.