Last night, my youngest daughter had a volleyball game about 30 minutes from our house. Correction: she played seven games, over the course of two sets. Most of the games had a lot of points and volleys, which added up to, well, a lot of time. So, by the time we got out of the gym and on our way home, we were all tired and at least one of us was hungry.
It’s at that time that Sophie, my oldest, called from work. She had made a new friend – a guy who was pedaling across country – and she wondered: could he spend the night at our house?
It’s after 9:00, we still aren’t home yet after a long day, and now we might have an unexpected house guest? I’d love to say that my first response was: Sure, come on. Let’s bless this guy with a place to crash, before he hits the road again. But, honestly, my first thought was primarily about why this wasn’t a good idea.
But my daughter was persistent, and so we made it work. And though we didn’t have much time with Dillon, I learned a bit of his story. He is from Pittsburgh, and he and a buddy decided to take the last half of this year off to bike across America. But then his friend landed a job he couldn’t say no to, leaving Dillon on his own. He decided to go for it anyway. He began the trip in early August in Astoria, Oregon, and plans to make it to Virginia Beach, Virginia. By Google’s calculations, that is 3,061 miles – not counting all the side trips that Dillon has no doubt made. And the 2 extra miles he had to bike getting from Sophie’s ice cream shop to my house. Just today, he planned to pedal from Louisville to Red River Gorge in eastern Kentucky – about 130 miles.
As we were getting settled at home last night, Sophie told me: I have been praying for someone to bless. She had been putting into practice the challenge we have been giving at our church (Fern Creek Christian) to daily seek to let God use us to bless others. And, lo and behold, Dillon shows up at work, and ends up crashing on our cot.
Did I mention that my first thought wasn’t one of excitement? Did I mention that yesterday was a long day? But the truth is – blessing others isn’t always easy. It involves sacrifice. Hard work. Openness to new things. And it might even cost a little money.
But sometimes we get so caught up in making it through the day, we forget to make something of the day. That was the lesson my daughter reminded me of last night, when her new friend needed a place to shower and sleep. I was reminded that I am not here for me, or for my comfort. That God uses us in simple ways, when we simply open ourselves to him.
Your story probably won’t be the same as Sophie’s (unless you happen to live between Louisville and Virginia Beach; if so, be on the lookout for a biker on a mission who may need a shower). But even though your story won’t be the same as Sophie’s, that’s the point. All our stories are different, because our lives are different. But the challenge is still the same.
So, who are you letting God use you to bless today?