Last month my two youngest boys were selling Camp Cards to raise money for their Boy Scout Troop. It seemed pretty simple. Buy a card for $5 and get $5 off next time you go to Publix, plus a bunch of other yearlong savings. To me it was a no-brainer. It really is no cost to the buyer if you shop at Publix.
One Sunday we decided to go to Publix and sell cards outside, with approval of course. I thought this would be easy. We could sell the 140 cards in about an hour covering both entrances. Four hours later, I was encouraging my kids to press on. Only seven more. Only five more. Come on, last one.
What I didn’t realize is how unfriendly people were. We had a good pitch telling them they would get their $5 back before they left the store. But some people completely ignored my little sales guys. They didn’t respond or even look at them. Forget the fact that these people were passing up a great deal: $5 off Publix, Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa John’s, Miami Subs deals, 20 percent off Denny’s for the rest of 2010, and more. The average person was just rude.
At some point in the second hour, however, I started to see myself in the people walking past ignoring my wonderful kids. Wow! I realized I do the same thing sometimes.
Then I thought of how many times I have missed a good opportunity or a God opportunity standing right in my path. And looking at my own kids, I started to feel bad for all the times I abruptly said no. If you think about it, it’s just a few dollars, and it means the world to them. I can’t imagine how many kids, or adults, I have walked ignorantly past. What else have I missed because I haven’t slowed down for one minute to see what God had for me?
I will never pass up another kid selling something again without at least being kind to him and hearing him out. These kids are trying to raise money, build character and develop skills. I know that when someone just listened to my sons, it made them feel good and encouraged them.
What has God placed in front of you that you have dashed past? It may be too late to buy Camp Cards from the Boy Scouts, but there will always be kids that need encouragement and people to help them build their life skills.
Every day we face opportunities that we are blinded to because of our busyness. That’s why we need margins in our life, small areas of time that will allow us to make those two-minute exceptions for those God-planned appointments.
I know I will strive daily to make myself available for whomever or whatever comes my way. It may always be a struggle because I feel that I have to get done what needs to get done. But that’s a lot of I and not a lot of others.
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