By Al Keeney
I had noticed the young man bagging groceries before. He took his job seriously and worked at it diligently. It's not easy for a person with Down's syndrome to find a job and he appreciated the opportunity to do something useful and earn his own money.
That particular day he bagged my groceries and placed them carefully in the cart for me. I thanked him and moved to push the cart out the door. After all, I'm a man! I can carry my own groceries. But he would have nothing of that. He informed me that that was his job.
I said, "OK," and he followed me out to my car. I opened the trunk and he put the bags in. I smiled and said, "Thank you."
Suddenly, he put his arms around me and said, "I like you!" I said the only thing I could say; "I like you, too."
Over the years I have read hundreds of books on a wide variety of subjects: I have heard countless sermons and preached hundreds myself; I have witnessed several remarkable, even historic events. But you know, I don't remember any of those things as clearly as I recall that simple expression of innocent love.
Now, some will say that when I see that young man in Heaven, he will have been made whole. In other words, they think he will be like the rest of us. But I wonder.
I wonder if, when by God's grace I am made whole, I won't be more like that young man than he like me. You see, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control [Galatians 6:22-23]. My friend the bag boy was blessed with all those qualities and none of the pride or meanness that so often afflicts me.
When we get to heaven, few of the abilities we value so highly here will matter very much. And honestly now, would you like to spend eternity debating the finer points of physics or theology or fine art with some world renowned authority, or would you rather spend it singing in the choir seated next to a kid who is not embarrassed to give you a hug and tell you that he likes you?
Copyright 2012 Al Keeney. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.
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