The Woman Who Collects Cans


“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Tim. 6:6-8

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Phil. 2:14-16

Just as I was moaning and groaning to myself as I was bent over pulling my two wheelchair dogs down the street, complaining in my heart because paralyzed dog Miss Mercy “had the brakes” on in that she was afraid of a truck and resisting moving forward, I noticed a little senior lady bent over pushing with all her might what most likely was her livelihood. A big moving cart contraption kind of thing filled with countless cans she was collecting as she made her way ever so slowly up the sidewalks of New York City so she could turn the cans in and get a little bit of cash. How quickly I was convicted of my complaining, and how beautiful the opportunity I then had.

I asked the woman if it was hard to push what she was pushing, and though she knew very little English, she emphatically said yes. We began to chat a tiny bit, but it was soon evident we had too much of a language barrier to make small talk. But there is another kind of talk that is not small at all, and this we soon found we could do. Using hand signals, I pointed to my heart, pointed to the sky, and said the word “Jesus” in one of the very few words I believed to be her language.

She lit up. We both lit up. This was our common bond, and I felt such a love between us. In bits and pieces, for just a couple of minutes, we tried to talk about Jesus. I wanted to make sure she wasn’t under any false teaching as I sensed she might have been exposed at least in part to the traditions of man rather than God, but this was too much for our language barrier. What was not too much, however, was the fact we both clearly loved Jesus the Christ, Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Our conversation came to a pretty quick close, but not before this.

We hugged each other with Christ’s love. The Lord prompted me to place something in her hand that was a gift and blessing from Him He wanted me to pass along to her. And in some of the only few words I knew in her language, I told her I LOVE YOU.

Off I went to continue forth with my everyday life. Off she want to continue forth with hers. Strengthened by the love of Christ that had passed between us, and convicted once more how very much the Lord has blessed me and how very much I need to stop complaining about my tiny challenges when there’s a world full of people with much greater ones – including a bent over senior lady who daily pushes a contraption down the street full of cans who in my presence anyway showed not an ounce of complaining.

Are you convicted as I am? May your conviction be not only to be a believer in and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, but to do so with a heart filled with love for and thanksgiving to God almighty in Christ, AMEN!

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