I remember years ago studying this chapter in a Tuesday Morning Ladies Bible Class. I was most likely half listening at the beginning of the class. I'm so glad I went all those many years ago. These are some of the most practical verses I have been able to apply to my life. Sometimes in the moment of putting out a fire, one cannot just stop time and run to the bible for a reference verse. I memorized this chapter and these have been some of my "go to" verses. I finally learned that God doesn't need me to to do his dirty work. God requires me to do his good work. He promises to take care of the nasty situations so I don't have to do it alone. He is in charge of giving people what they truly deserve. What a relief... this frees up a lot of my time. With 6 kids and lots of activities, I could have wasted so much energy giving people what I thought they deserved. Instead, I am called to do the fun stuff...to speak God's word in truth, to teach, encourage, contribute generously, show mercy, honor and devote myself to others, be joyful, be patient, be faithful, share with those in need, practice hospitality, be a blessing, rejoice and mourn with people, associate with all people, and feed God's people. This is how we overcome evil...by doing good. Wow, this is so powerful being on the giving end. This practicing Romans 12 is fun. Then I hit a rough spot, I'm the one who needed mercy. I needed God's people to be all these things for me. Sadly, I was disappointed over and over again. Very few christians practiced their Romans 12 on me. I was sad, no really sad. I was more like devastated. The years passed by quickly and I somehow trudged along but never alone. God was by my side and he whispered powerful words of strength and wisdom to me. It was Romans 12 that gave me my peace when my heart was angry at others. On my spiritual journey, those verses from Romans have sustained me. Today on my physical journey, I live by these verses everyday. After all these years, life has become a complete joy.
Since leaving Deer Park on Sept 1,2013 already we see so much Romans 12 opportunity...I never dreamed God would place so many needs in front of us almost daily. Now I can be much more proactive as we are constantly moving and living around the USA. No need to hold back now. I can bless anyone I want, anywhere I want, and I do. Steve has literally pulled me away from situations (he says for safety reasons...why? I'm not scared) Due to his ER work, he is more cautious than I. He deals with the homeless every day. I just encounter random needy people in strange places... like starbucks, mcdonalds, KFC, arby's, walmart, pike place market, etc... here's a few examples I want to remember forever about my journey ... can't make this up!
"No, I can't be your girlfriend. I'm not hitting on you homeless man, it was just a cup of coffee and you only had 52 cents."
"Then it was severe autistic boy with his dirt poor fam in a 25 year old subaru, and their KFC coupon expired. Really God? you chose me again?"
"in the dollar tree and a man barely speaking english wants me to call him a taxi? why me God? I'm not even from here."
"at Arby's and a girl upset her debit card declined." I only had a $100 bill, they wouldn't take it and Steve stopped me from going back in when I went out to the car, against my better judgement.
Romans 12, I thought. But Steve reminded me how we cannot save everyone, we can just love them and pray for them. I said a pray for that girl. I'm afraid she has bigger problems that a $40 debit card decline.
and Steve... he's sneaky about giving. He likes to look for people that need a blessing. In a restaurant, we will watch people and decide who gets blessed...the busboy, waitress, hostess, needy family at next table, service men, or just any random person, etc...He's the "big tipper". I love that guy so much.
We've also been blessed ten fold by the goodness of strangers, too. Like the kid in Oregon who had his jimmy johns worker friends deliver dinner to us in the snow storm, and the snow chain removal couple at the rest stop...So much goodness these last 6 months and its all starting to run together.
So, this lesson over the years I've learned...I'm going to do what scripture calls me to do, no matter what. So, as we travel, I am constantly reminded of my duty to not repay others what I think they deserve, but to do for others what christians never did for me. Even the smallest random act of kindness can mean the world to some people.