I wouldn’t say I was angry, but definitely irritated. I’d received a gift of a custom-made inspirational plaque from a store in Franklin, TN, celebrating my Ph.D. graduation from TSU last August. But when it arrived there was one small problem: it said My Love = My Discilpes. It’s my favorite Bible verse, John 13:35, but it was going to have to be re-done. (see above photo)
“I’m so sorry. Bring it back to the store and I’ll re-make it,” Rich, the store owner said. I took it back in a few weeks and met Rich, an engaging, easy-going guy who enjoys talking with his customers about his faith. I told him that I am in Franklin often and I’d just stop by the next time I was in town and pick up the replacement.
The weeks dragged on to months and each time I’d stop by, Rich and I had an engaging conversation about faith, evangelism, church and the world around us. But no replacement plaque. Sometimes it was a problem with the template he needed, or the wood that he’d ordered for the base. Or he’d had a large rush order to do for LIFEWAY; I’d told him that mine wasn’t urgent and I knew that custom-work took more time.
At first I was irritated that I couldn’t resolve this task in my life, another thing to cross off my “to do list”—“Get plaque re-made at store in Franklin, TN”.
In my younger days, I would have been furious at the delays and the incompetence! How can anyone be in business and not provide better service? However, God had something else in mind; Rich and I are now friends. If that custom-made plaque would have been done right the first time, I would have never met Rich and enjoyed his conversations every few weeks about our faith and the state of the world.
Almost one year to the day of my graduation, Rich and I met last week at a Starbuck’s in Franklin, TN. His landlord hadn’t renewed his lease and he’s looking for a new store location in the Brentwood/Franklin area. But he had my plaque, and it was just what I wanted, the perfect graduation gift! (see below photo)
The experience has taught me to put my value on God and the people in my life instead of material possessions.
Jesus gives us insight into our love of “things” in Luke 10:41, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things”.
I’m glad that God has taught me the value of friendship.
Are there “things” on your “to do list” that consume your energy and time but that aren’t as important as nurturing your relationships?