My wife Judi and I were out getting some last-minute things before we took off for the annual beach trip with the grandkids. This is such an exciting few days just to be with them. As you can imagine, we were in a mad frenzy to get everything done … grocery store, Wal-Mart, Ross … let nothing get in the way.

All was going well until we got to Ross. My wife noticed a lady with a suitcase, tattered clothes and a mop of hair talking to a cab driver. We got what we needed and headed to Michael’s, our next stop. However, halfway to the store Judi said to me, “Did you see that lady sitting on the bench outside of Ross?” I said yes, and as a dedicated pastor of Outside the Walls, I brushed her comment off. We were on a mission. We were heading to the beach with the grandkids; we had no time to inquire about a homeless-looking lady on a bench.

Well, during the previous week I had been meditating on and studying Romans 15. These verses started to come back to me while looking at art supplies for the kids. (By the way, we never used one of the things we bought that day in Michael’s.) The verse that kept haunting me was Romans 15:3: “For even Christ did not please himself, but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’” That is exactly what Jesus did. He did not make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles but waded right in and helped out. Judi thought I was looking at art supplies, but really I was battling this verse and that lady sitting on the bench.

By the time we got to the cash register line, God had won. I had to go back to the lady even if it took the rest of our day to help her and interrupt our very important plans. I asked Judi to pay and meet me at the bench when she was finished. I could see the smile in her eyes as if to say, “Thank you Lord, for speaking to my determined, too-busy husband.” We tried to help the lady on the bench, but she was not interested. She would not let us do anything for her. That is fine, because she had a choice, and we honored her choice to say no. We honored God by at least being willing.

On Sunday, I will teach through Romans 15 and explore the full picture of what it means to help and serve others. Hope you can make it and bring a friend.

Also, do not forget to sign up to serve at Back2School FIA here, on the Cumberland app, or at church on Sunday. Thank you.

Rob