I was at our local Bilo grocery store on Friday and saw a black lady wearing a T-shirt that said, “In Loving Memory Of Lil’ Rick.” Underneath, it said that he died on April 9, 2002. He would be 34-years old today. He died in a car accident when he was eighteen. He ran into a tree.
The lady wearing the T-shirt was his sister. We chatted for a while. I saw her shopping earlier and noticed the sad note written on her shirt. Being that my name is the same as her brothers, I had to talk to her. While Lucia was checking out, this lady was in the other line. I walked over and asked her what it meant.
She gladly shared her story–Lil’ Rick’s story. It was a teary time for both of us. I shared with her the untimely loss of my two brothers and how sad it is when you lose someone you love. I gave her my ministry card and asked her to check me out.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:20
I let her know that part of the reason that I do what I do today is because of the deaths of my two brothers. And how the Lord flipped the narrative in my life to where what others meant for evil, the Lord intended for good, so many people would be helped and encouraged (Genesis 50:20).
The Reason For Shopping
After leaving my new friend, the Lord reminded me of something that we teach our children. In Matthew 6:33, the Lord taught us to seek the kingdom of God first, and all “these things” will be added to you.
The “these things” the Lord was talking about were clothes, food, and shelter. He meant that your primary objective is to discern what God is up to in your world and seek that most of all. And not to get caught up with sublunary things like, “where shall we live,” or “what shall we eat,” or “what shall I wear?”
He went on to teach that pagan people spend their time thinking about such earthly matters. But God’s people have higher motives, agendas, and practices. The way we practicalize this idea into our lives is that while we are going about our “daily affairs,” our more critical hope is to anticipate God waiting for us wherever we may be going. And our job is to discern His desires after we arrive.
Why Do You Shop?
The way I illustrate this idea is with the following question. “When your wife asks you to go to the store to buy a gallon of milk, what is your primary reason for going to the store?” It’s not to buy milk, but to seek the kingdom of God. As you’re looking for your milk, you’re seeking “kingdom opportunities.”
You start looking for what God may be up to in His world. You know He is up to something because He is always up to something. You don’t know what it is while you’re getting your milk, but you’re confident the Lord has something cool in store for you.
Kingdom Work Practicalized
Friday, I saw a lady pushing a shopping cart. On her T-shirt was a memorial to her brother. Thirty-minutes later I was chatting her up, sympathizing with her loss while offering her the hope of Christ. I also gave her a follow-up opportunity when I asked her to check out my website. Once she learned what I did vocationally, she told me about her friend whose son was shot to death recently; she was grieving badly.
If my sole reason for going to the store were for the milk, I would be like a pagan person. Jesus said not to worry about the milk, but to use those “earthly moments” for kingdom activity.
It is rare not to find those individuals when you’re asking, expecting, and looking for God to be where you’re going.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33