An author writes of a close friend and her intriguing encounter. She spent her summers in a small town in Vermont which Paul Newman was known to frequent. She got up early one Sunday morning to take a long walk. Returning around 8 a.m. she discovered her family still in bed. Craving something cold and sweet she went into town to the bakery shop, which was also the ice cream shop, to get a double dip ice cream. She hopped into the car and drove into the empty town. She parked in front of the ice cream and bakery shop.
She walked in and there at the counter was the sole customer, Paul Newman, eating a doughnut and having coffee. Her first thoughts ran like this.
"OK. It's his town too. This poor man is entitled to his privacy just like anyone else. So I'll not make a big deal out of this."
She simply walked up to the counter and ordered her cone exactly as she would have done with anyone else sitting there.
She nodded politely to Mr. Newman, laid her two dollars on the counter and left. She then walked back out to her car, proud of how she had handled the situation, only to discover that though she had a handful of change, she didn't have her ice cream cone.
Flustered, she knew she needed to go back inside and retrieve it. So she did. But the cone wasn't on the counter. Instead of a quick retrieval and run, she was forced to go back over and stand next to Mr. Newman to call for the clerk. Again playing it cool, she once more nodded politely. Before she could say anything, Paul Newman broke out into a warm, friendly smile and said, "You put it in your purse."
My how we love the stars of our society! Our black nights are dotted with their sparkle and glow. We want to know what they eat, what they wear, who they date and how they live. Their every thought and opinion intrigues us. We might even get so excited in their presence we can't think straight.
Nearby, sometimes unnoticed and ignored, are the true stars that like our sun give us the warmth and light to live by. They are our spouses, our parents, our children and friends. They are our co-workers, bosses and employees. They are the clerks who give us our double dip ice creams. How excited are we to be around them? How intrigued are we by their thoughts and opinions? Are we taking the time to be kind and to listen to those we see everyday, or are we taking them for granted?
The Bible could not be clearer: everyone, great or small, is created in the image of God. Everyone is an immortal being capable of faith, hope and love. And Jesus could not be clearer. When you do something kind to anyone, even the "least of these," "you do it to me."
Rick Cupp is the minister at Kenai Fellowship at Mile 8.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway. For more information, call 283-7682. Sunday Bible classes begin at 10 a.m., worship is at 11:15 a.m. and Wednesday worship and Bible classes are at 7 p.m.
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