I love Fridays. It’s my day off.
Why do I love Fridays (besides the obvious aforementioned fact)?
Because Fridays mean I spend the day with my wife. All 4 kids are in school, and it’s just me and the Hotness. You’d love Fridays, too.
And each Friday we typically venture out on some near-flung excursion. This week we drove up to Short Pump Town Center and the surrounding area. As we were up there (only 20-25 minutes from our home), we decided to pay a visit to Tom Leonard’s Farm Market. And we did that because when we lived in Nyack, NY we were close to Stew Leonard’s (Tom’s Dad) Farm Market and always loved meandering through this unique grocery shopping experience. Never been there? Click this and take a peek at some photos. So, going to Tom Leonard’s at Short Pump is very similar (though slightly smaller) as going to Stew Leonard’s in Yonkers, New York.
And while we were strolling through the single-aisle, labryrinth-style layout of this unique store, something unexpected happened.
Tom Leonard’s employees are really friendly, so it was no surprise that as we went through, we got smiles and greetings and friendly offers for help. But I was caught off guard when one man dressed in the Tom Leonard red polo shirt approached us and said, “Hi Folks, how are you doing today? I’m Tom Leonard.”
Now, outwardly I played it cool. I think I said something like, “Hi, we’re great. How are you?” But inwardly (after my nanosecond of shock) I thought, “TOM LEONARD?!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOCKING SHELVES ALONGSIDE YOUR EMPLOYEES? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TALKING TO ME? YOUR NAME IS THE HUGE SIGN OUTSIDE!!!” He went on to ask us where we’re from, what I do for a living, and other various pleasantries before getting back to his work.
And after I left and processed through that brief exchange, I had an “aha” moment. Two things came to mind:
1. Jesus washed feet. Sweaty, dusty, stanky, manure-encrusted feet.
2. Jesus’ followers find success in their mission on earth when we live the truth we speak.
Tom Leonard had every right in many ways to say (and live) “My name’s on the sign. I’m not going to stoop down and stock shelves. I own this place.”
Jesus Christ had every right to say (and live) “My name is Jesus Christ. I’m the Son of God. I ain’t washing NOBODY’S stanky feet. They should be washing MY feet. I own this place.”
But the “magic” happened there in that grocery store aisle when that man named Tom Leonard actually opened his mouth and let me know, in one fell-swoop, what his life’s career mission is. But would it have been the same had I seen him, but never heard him? Obviously not.
Revelation 12:11 tells us how we as followers of Christ “win” or “overcome”.
“And they overcame…because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
Our “success” as followers of Jesus is two-pronged. First, we must never forget that our salvation is based squarely in the center of the cross. It is His shed blood that makes our forgiveness possible. We must NEVER lose sight of the fact this it is NONE of us, and ALL of Him that substantiates the transaction of our reconciliation. But this is only the first half of Revelation 12:11.
The second part, which is evidence of a friendship with God is “the word of our testimony.” It is at some critical point that there MUST be a verbal conversation between myself and someone who doesn’t know the new life that Christ offers. Not preaching, not judging or condemning, not fear-mongering. Just loving people enough to open the door to an eternity with God. And some point we simply say it.
Thanks, Tom Leonard, for knowing your mission and for saying it.