Today marked the end of my third week as an employee at Robins AFB. For fifteen days, I have driven through that Russell Gate in the rainy, foggy, cold weather, waiting to have my ID checked by one of the military personnel. No matter what the weather, these ladies and gentlemen are friendly and professional, most greeting me with a smile and calling me by name; even though there are thousands of vehicles to be checked, I have yet to encounter anyone who has treated me rudely or with disrespect. And yes, I got a “blessed day” greeting once or twice.
Now, let’s be completely honest here for just a moment. It really doesn’t matter what these folks say to me as the back-and-forth of the ID card occurs- as long as they aren’t saying, “Please pull over, ma’am.” But then yesterday with the “Blessed Day Ban” things got a little heated. All of a sudden people are blessing one another to kingdom come, there’s a Facebook page, there’s public outcry, someone started making “Keep Calm and Have A Blessed Day” t-shirts. And the religious community cheered when the ban was lifted within hours.
Perhaps you can tell by my tone that I’m not a fan of the “Blessed Day Ban” outrage (although, I do agree that there is certainly a time and place for such an outcry, this just didn’t seem to be such a time or place for me). So, why am I writing about it here? Honestly, it is to remind myself of an important life lesson I’ve learned through the years. Namely that extending a desire for God to bless someone must move beyond my words to my actions. Don’t just tell someone “be blessed;” be a blessing to them. Saying it is one thing, but acting on it is quite another thing all together.
As an example, I think of the mystery person who issued the complaint to begin with. No matter what his belief system (and yes, lack of belief does count as a belief system), someone who is so highly offended by someone wishing him well needs that blessing most of all. Was there ever a Christian person in his life who showed him mercy, graciousness, and all the other fruit of the Spirit that Christ uses to move people toward Him through us? Could we be a blessing to him? To the millions of others like him in our world? Did our reactions and responses draw him closer to Christ? Were we salt and light to him in this situation?
Another example is through our actions toward those folks that work the gates every morning. Those young men and women have a critically important job ahead of them every morning, and it’s not to wish me a good day. They keep me safe by placing themselves between me and danger. Do we recognize the value of the lives that they place on the line for us every morning? See, I’ve noticed that they each have a variation on a pleasant greeting that they use. And so do I. From day one of my employment, before I drive away, I take the time to look them in the eye and thank them for their service. Then, as I pull away from the gate, I pray for their safety as they perform their duties. It’s not much, but it is a way that I can ask for God’s blessing on their lives. I don’t need a t-shirt or a petition. I don’t need to get outraged. I just need to be faithful to be the small blessing that God has convicted me that I need to be. I need to remember that the one who greeted me this morning may not be there to greet me tomorrow so today may be the only chance I have to show them their value.
The thing I want to take away for myself from this week is this: The few seconds I spend each morning going through those gates will, over the years, accumulate into quite an investment of time. May I spend it wisely and faithfully, with grace and goodness that honors my Savior, and draws others to Him.