I stepped down from teaching the couple’s Sunday School a few weeks ago. I had really prayed about it and felt it was time. God was so good to show me clearly.
I gave our last lesson a lot of thought and prayer. I wanted to leave them with the best one ever. “Who’s in Your Basket?” was it. (It was a sermon my pastor preached two decades ago and I’ve never forgotten it!) We studied Acts 7 about Saul and how he had persecuted, even killed Christians. We covered his being blind, and Ananias coming to him, reluctantly. The end-and main focus-was where Saul’s followers had to lower him in a basket over the city wall in chapter 9.
The guys who lowered the basket had no idea what Saul was going to become or that his name
would be changed to Paul. They had no clue that he would be one of the greatest evangelists who ever lived. They didn’t know he would stand before kings and share Jesus Christ or that he would write most of the books of the NT.
The only thing they knew was that this new brother needed them to hold the rope of the basket
to save his life. He couldn’t get out by himself. He needed their help. Paul was in their basket not forever but for a short time. As Christians, we have people in our baskets every day. We don’t know what they will end up doing or becoming…but it’s our job-for a season-to hold their rope maybe for a moment, a week, month or a year.
I shared a story that happened two days before. My dear friend, Tanya, and I had gone to Sam’s
in Proctorville, Ohio for church supplies. We almost ate in Proctorville, but moseyed on to Huntington. We almost ate there, but then decided to go to the Chick-fil-A in Ashland. We couldn’t find it-our phones wouldn’t pull up the info-so we pulled in to another restaurant. When we went in, a hostess asked us to follow her to a table, but just when we got there, she stopped, turned around and yelled to someone that she was taking us to *Mary. It was weird. Everyone there heard and knew Mary would be taking care of us.
After being seated in a booth on the other side of the room, a young woman came to take
our order. We asked her about some items on the menu, and which was better, the Chicken Tortilla Soup or the Potato Soup. Without looking up from her tablet, she grunted, “I don’t know. I don’t eat either one.” Tanya placed her order, as did I and Mary left. I thought to myself, “She doesn’t love her job.”
When our food came, I noticed that Mary had a rubber bracelet on that had a date ending in
“2012”. You don’t wear a bracelet with a date on it unless something big has happened. I reached up and touched the band asking what it meant. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the next part…
In one breath, Mary said, “My son was killed in a car accident. It was on a road he had never
driven before. He was in a hurry and his girlfriend told him to take a short cut. He was 18.” I was
shocked! I thought of was MY son whom I love so much!
She continued, “It happened in December. I got these bracelets to help raise money.” She
showed us several pictures of him. It had only been three weeks! How awful! I was crying with my hand over my mouth. She left to check her other tables.
We sat in our booth, stunned. And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was in our basket. I felt my coat pocket. I always carry Bible verses with me but couldn’t find a single one. They were in my other jacket! I have to tell you that I felt like I had gone into battle without my armor on!
I wondered out loud, “What am I going to do?” I knew this was a divine appointment! And then it hit me…I have Bible verses in my heart…and also in my cell phone! I asked Tanya for paper and pen and jotted down some of my favorites: Proverbs 3:5-6 about trusting in the Lord. Then Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid…for the LORD your God goes with you…plus eight other verses that were encouraging.
When Mary returned, I tried to talk without crying. I told her that we almost ate in Proctorville, then in Huntington, and almost at Chick-fil-A, and even when we came in, we almost ate at someone else’s table. I continued, saying I felt like we had come to her restaurant because we were supposed to meet her. Her eyes were wide as she listened. With tears in my eyes, I handed her the page with all the verses on it, encouraging her to keep them forever. I also cautioned her-even though she didn’t know me-that she had a huge hole in her heart and to be careful what she filled it with. Mary reached out to hug me! We cried together and I promised that we would pray for her.
Tanya gave her our church name and phone number and encouraged her to call if she ever needed to.
We left the restaurant feeling like we had been on a mission. For less than an hour, God had put a young lady in our basket. Like the guys who held Saul’s rope, we might not ever see her again. But for that time…we held the rope as if our life depended on it.
Think about it…who has God put in YOUR basket? Let’s get blisters on our hands from holding the rope!
I found out later that the Chick-fil-A was just over the hill from where we ate.