We live in downtown Flint, Michigan. It’s really not the kind of place where folks chat over the backyard fence and swap garden produce and gossip. On the street in downtown Flint, people don’t usually speak to you until you speak to them. Sometimes they don’t speak to you even when you do speak to them. Sometimes what people say when they do speak to you makes you wish you hadn’t spoken to them. But sometimes the sun of humanity breaks through the clouds of anonymity even here in Flint. That happened this week.
Lois and I were out on doing a couple errands. One of them was to get gas in the van. The station was busy and we had to wait to get a pump. I had to drive away and circle the block until a space opened up. I pumped the gas, paid the attendant inside and started back to the car when a man who was walking toward the store said, “Good morning, do you like fresh sweet cherries?”
The man was a stranger but I do like cherries.
“Yes!” I said.
He gestured for me to follow him.
He was on the other side of the pump and he was driving a refrigerated produce truck. He opened a side door and lifted the lid on a case of dark cherries.
I did and they were good. I told him so.
“Where are you from,” I asked.
I remembered speaking at a camp near Traverse City and driving to the watch the sun set through beautiful countryside. Cherry orchards were common and out by the roadside farmers set up little stands and sell the fruit in mid-summer when the cherries were ready. My mouth watered at the memory.
“Would you like to try some?”
“Sure, how much?” I said
He dismissed my question with a grunt and a wave.
“Just a minute,” he said. “Wait here.”
He ran into the gas station and came out with a plastic bag and began to fill it with fruit. I thought it was a sales tactic. While he was filling the bag I told him that I managed a training center where we are feeding three meals a day to over two hundred people. I thought we should exchange information because we commonly buy large amounts of fresh fruit.
Surprised, he said, “You feed two hundred people a day? Well, here,” he said, and he put the lid on the case and handed it to me. “Take the whole thing.”
“Thank you. How much to I owe you.”
“Enjoy them,” he said and then he got in his truck and drove away.
According to Scripture God sends angels to minister to the saints. Last week he sent a man from Traverse City right here to Flint. Flint, where people don’t always make small talk at the gas station. The man came bearing gifts, dark, cold, sweet cherries, a huge case of them– just for me. It’s times like this that I am encouraged to know that God loves me and he likes me too.
The stranger from Traverse City drove away without getting my information or asking my name. I stood and watched him go surprised because he never asked me to buy any. He didn’t tell me his name or the name of his company. He just saw my delight in the taste of the cherries, loaded me down with a case of them, and drove quietly away. I wondered why.
I’ve been thinking on that for nearly a week. When you have something as sweet and as good as those cherries you just want people to taste them and you want to see the delight in their face. That’s true in Traverse City. That’s true in Flint. I haven’t traveled the world, but I am sure that’s true from Baghdad to Brussels. When you have something good you want others to enjoy it.
So it is with those of us who have tasted of Christ and know his sweetness. We so want to see other’s eyes light up at the taste of him. When we introduce him to others we walk away with a smile in our heart.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8)