So today is “Black Friday.” The one day out of the year where some people will brave the weather, get up a lot earlier than normal, stand in line for hours in hopes that they can get that one item that they want before the rest of mankind gets there and gets it before them. Sure most stores put really great prices on items just to get us there but then they will only have a few of the sale items.
Today, I was one of those people. I had seen the “Black Friday” ad for the stores in my area and found there were only 2 items that I wanted. One was a new laser printer to replace mine that died and an inexpensive point and shoot camera to keep in the truck with me. Staples had both of these at significant savings, so I made the decision to be there in line an hour before the store opened hoping that I could get at least one of these two items.
I was there an HOUR before the store opened and I was 18th in line. I was in line, in the cold and damp, at 5 AM and had only gotten there in time to be 18th. Are you kidding me? So, I got in the line that quickly grew long behind me and after a while actually thinned out some in front of me due to the store giving out reservation appointments to purchase discounted laptops.
God has given me a gift that came in handy while in line at Staples. I seem to have the ability to strike up a conversation with anyone. It is a gift for me, but could be considered a curse for others. None the less, I began talking to the people around me. They were telling stories of people passing out at Wal Mart, of long lines at Best Buy, and here we were all together waiting on the doors to open at Staples passing the time, telling stories together.
One gentleman in front of me, asked where I went to church. Nothing was said about church from anyone until that moment. I told him that I was a member of Lost Mountain Baptist Church and was the middle school youth director there. He began mentioning churches in Douglasville where he had attended previously but right now he was not a member anywhere. Not that he wasn’t saved, but he had not found the right church for him and his family yet. I immediately invited him to my church but I could tell he had more to say.
He asked me if I had ever heard of the “Ticket to Heaven?” I was kind of caught back. I had just told him I work with youth at my church and now he was asking me about salvation? I told him reluctantly, that I had not heard of this. He took out one of the pieces of paper that the salesmen had given us, began to fold it almost like a paper airplane and told this story. He said he had heard a story of 2 brothers, together during war time that were in a fox hole under fire together. The older brother was saved while the younger brother was not. The younger brother confessed to the other that he was worried about his salvation and what would happen to him. The older brother asked him if he had his ticket to heaven and the younger replied that he didn’t know what he was talking about. (The whole time the man in line at staples is telling this story, he is still folding this paper). The older brother began folding up a piece of paper that he had, just like this one, telling the younger brother how Christ had died for us to pay for our sins. He then tore off 2 pieces of the folded paper and handed them to the younger brother. Then he unfolded his paper, said this is the ticket to heaven. The unfolded paper was now in the shape of the cross. He told the younger brother that if he didn’t have this ticket, he would have to use his, the paper that the older brother tore off. It formed the word HELL.
As the man in line at Stapled was telling this story, folding and tearing this ad from the store, everyone around him was watching him and listening to him tell this story. When he unfolded his cross and then spelled out the word HELL, everyone around him heard just a simple version of the gospel this morning, at 5:30 AM, in line at Staples.
So, God’s message will get out. Someone in that line this morning may not have been saved and may have heard the seed that this gentleman had planted. I may never see that man again or know of the results of him sharing the message of Christ until I get to heaven but it gave me hope that even a stranger, can have the courage to share Christ in the middle of a group of people that he had never met and may never see again.
The message of Christ was shared, even in line at Staples.
Thank you for being the reason that we celebrate this time of year. Thank you for sending your messenger this morning to wait in line with complete strangers and share your message to those around him with confidence and without fear. Give me this same courage and confidence when the opportunity arises when You need me to do the same.