I thought I had arrived early enough to get a good seat. It was the second night of the Christian conference at the local sports arena and seating was on a first come, first served basis. The best seats were already taken so I wandered a bit aimlessly looking for the next best seat. It was my second time around the arena floor when I heard her voice.
“Excuse me…are you looking for a seat?”
“Yes,” I replied, hopeful that I wasn’t answering in place of someone else.
“Is there just one of you?”
“Yes,” I said again, nodding.
“Here.” She pointed to the seat next to hers. “This one is yours.”
I took a quick glance next to me just to make sure I was her intended audience. “Really?”
She shot back a smile in my direction. “Yes, this is for you.” She gathered her sweatshirt from the seat of the chair and made room for me to get past her. “I’ve got one more,” she said under her breath.
“Thank you, so much!” I said as I moved passed the empty chair on the end and stepped over her. I took my seat on her left. We were about 7 rows back from the VIP section. I was the third seat from the aisle. It was a perfect view of the stage. “This is so nice of you. Thank you!”
“Don’t thank me,” she said. “Thank God. He saved it for you.”
I smiled back at her and thanked her again, not sure of how to respond to her comment. I arranged my things making my new space my own. Her attention was drawn back to the throng of people making their way through the aisles. My attention was drawn to the hunger pangs in my stomach.
“I think I’m going to go grab something to eat real quick,” I said as I got up from my chair. I draped my windbreaker around the back of my chair and left my program on the seat. “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” she said as I slipped past her.
In my walk to the lobby I began to rethink my dinner plans. I had thought I would leave the arena, grab a quick bite, and come back before worship started. I had over an hour, plenty of time to accomplish what I needed to… but that woman. Here she’s saved me this seat and after 5 minutes of gratitude I leave, only to return just before the session starts. Rude! So, I meandered through the lobby, checked out the concession stands and some of the other resource tables. After about 20 minutes I came back into the arena empty-handed and still hungry but glad to be able to return to my gracious host.
I got to my chair and found all my belongings exactly where I had left them, but my “seat-saver” was gone. Two other women filled the seat she had been in and the empty one next to her. I looked around at the other seats in our row and the other rows all around me.She was gone.
“Oh Lord,” I said to myself. “Was that an angel? Did you send an angel to save me a seat?”
I don’t know if it was really an angel. But I will admit that I spent the rest of the weekend basking in the thought that it was! 🙂 But whether it was or wasn’t, I do believe there was a much bigger point that the Lord was trying to teach me.
This sweet woman was apparently saving seats for strangers that day. What a great way to B DA GLV! And I was a grateful recipient. My natural reaction was to thank her and give her every ounce of credit. She did what all of us should do as “gloves” in the world, she directed me back to the Source. It wasn’t her I was to focus on, it was the Lord. God had given me that gift.
That same weekend I read the story in Luke 10 of Jesus sending out 72 people to preach the gospel. They came back from their adventure and couldn’t wait to tell Him how great it was. They had cast out demons in His name! Jesus reflected their enthusiasm with His response, “I saw Satan fall from heaven!” But then He shared such amazing wisdom with them. “Do not rejoice that the demons submitted to you, but rather that your names are written in heaven.”
I saw a correlation between what I had experienced at that arena and Jesus’ words to those 72 people. First, when we are BN DA GLV, are we directing people’s focus to the Source of our love as my “angel” did for me? She not only didn’t want to take the credit, she completely disappeared before I could return to my seat and thank her yet again. She also gave even more than I believe she had intended. When I first accepted her gift she said, “I have one more.” I believe she had saved the seat on the other side of her to give away as well. But she gave not only that seat away but the one she was sitting in! That is selfless giving. What a great example of His love she was!
Second, when we are BN DA GLV are we getting carried away in what we’re doing – or rather what GOD is doing through us – or are we focused instead on Whose we are. Jesus’ message to those He sent out was, “Don’t get caught up in the things you do in My name. Just be grateful for who you are in Me.” It is not our love. It is not our generosity. It is not our power under which we do things. It is HIS! It is Him in us that is moving. He is the hand. We are the glove. We not only need to direct the focus of others toward Him, we need to keep our focus on Him as well. It’s not about the acts HE accomplishes through us, it is all about our relationship with Him. That is what we can relish in… His grace that has made us His and has written our names in heaven.
Let’s commit to one another to B DA GLV and keep our focus on the One who deserves ALL the glory!