I scoured the tiny town looking for an oasis in the desert—Dollar General. On the road for work, I needed a couple of essentials I had left home without, and I was hopeful I could find what I needed. I pulled into the parking lot and my eyes caught the bright flash of their neon pink and orange shirts. Two tiny sisters probably about two and three years old who darted off the sidewalk before their mom could catch them. Having a tiny darter of my own, I immediately stopped and carefully parked where they were not. By the time I opened the door of my truck, the littlest girl was standing nearly in my truck.
I bent down and began to speak softly to her as I waited for her mom to make her way over. I complimented her sparkly flip flops and her neon orange earrings that matched so perfectly with her t-shirt. Her older sister had drawn near at that point as well, ready to show off her precious Hello Kitty purse. I oohed and ahhed as if it were the finest designer bag money could buy.
And suddenly, before I knew it, they both had thrown their arms around me and hugged me so tightly they nearly knocked me over. I stood my ground and gently hugged them in return. By that time, their mom had made her way to the car. I thanked her for raising such sweet little girls. Without a doubt, they made my day.
And then I heard a whisper, “Sometimes we just need someone to get on our level.”
Just a couple of hours earlier, I had a conversation with someone who told me, “I just feel like I’ve been preached at all my life, not preached to. I need to be preached to.”
The prepositions at and to. Boy, do they offer some context. You shout AT someone. You speak TO someone. You throw something AT someone hoping they will catch it. You give a gift TO someone knowing they will receive it.
Today, is your life preaching AT people or preaching TO them? Because sometimes, we all need someone to get down on our level. To find their way down to where we are. To speak kindly and softly to us so that we know we are not alone.
There is a whole world of people out there watching. It might be a family member, a coworker, a bank teller, or two little girls at the Dollar General. They need to know that there is hope for them. They need to know that where they are is not too far. They need to know that they are not alone.
And I know that my God is the God who bends down to meet them where they are. He draws them in with a quiet kindness that affirms that they are loved. And He embraces them there. Right there down on their level.
My prayer is that my life might softly preach TO someone. May I never preach AT someone. May I reflect the character of Jesus, and may you know there is no place so far today that He is not willing to find you right where you are…