Smelly Jack?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are there people in your life that that don’t seem to be on “level ground” with you? You know, the kind of people you can only see what distinguishes them from you and not the things that bind them with you?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

As I paid for my fuel purchase, in he came. Everyone in town knew him as just plain Jack. He was dirty, loud and smelly. Most people avoided him because he was just different from most other folks. He didn’t bath or shower but once in a blue moon. Most of his teeth were missing and the house he lived in was junky even by rural, out-county standards. I moved away to give him space, trying to avoid eye contact or, heaven forbid, his scruffy coat should brush mine.

As I moved to leave, Jack did something that surprised me. He pulled out a gasoline credit card and plunked it down on the counter. In fact, as the clerk had handed me my card he picked up Jack’s. Somehow I had expected Jack to sign-off on a credit slip. Or, at the very least, pull some wrinkled bills from a greasy wallet. But no. He plunked down a fresh, new credit card. For the moment I was struck with the thought that Jack, at least at that counter, was no better or worse than me. Dirty and loud as he was, we shared the same credit card. That had to be good for something; at least Jack deserved a nod or some recognition. I felt compelled. You see–we both had the same card.

Here’s a story. General Robert E. Lee was a devout follower of Jesus Christ. Although he was raised in the south where prejudice was a daily way of life, Lee seldom practiced it or revealed it in his life. Although his family owned slaves at one juncture, the slaves were always treated with respect and dignity. It is said that soon after the end of the Civil War, he visited a church in Washington, D.C., a city that had often heaped scorn on Lee throughout the war for his loyalty to the slave-owning states of the Confederacy. During the communion service Lee slowly made his way to the front of the church where he knelt beside a black man. After the service had ended, an onlooker approached Lee and said to him, “How could you do that?” Lee replied, “My friend, all ground is level beneath the cross.” (Source Unknown.)

I guess when I picked up that card and Jack plunked down his, it suddenly struck me that Jack and I were, at that moment, consumed with the same purpose. I needed fuel and had paid for it. He needed fuel and he did the same. Although I had felt that I was better than Jack since I showered daily and brushed my teeth twice a day, it suddenly dawned on me that these things were trivial criteria for drawing distinctions. There were probably many other things in Jack’s life that put him on “level ground” with me. The problem I had was that I could only see those things which distinguished me from him and not the things that bound us together. I left the station that night feeling peculiarly small and insignificant–something else I probably shared with Jack who must have known that feeling well.

We pray. Heavenly Father, "Dear Lord, I don't know who will cross my path today. But I do know that you are my Rock and my Fortress. You are my Shield and my Strong Tower. Help me to anchor myself to you today. Help me walk by your truth and not my feelings. Help me to treat everyone that comes my way as an opportunity to see you at work and as an opportunity to treat others as you have so graciously treated me. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to "This Passing Day!"

<> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.

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