Friday, March 29, 2013

Not an Easter Basket

With Easter coming I am sure every mom and dad are busily storing up treats to put on top of pink or blue grass filled baskets for the little kiddies in their life. (I am including myself in that list). And Easter wouldn't be Easter if I didn't mention the Grandma's and Granddaddies who run around buying the perfect Easter basket and filling it with all sorts of wonderful goodies for the sweet little ones in their lives. I even grew up receiving an Easter basket that had a chocolate bunny sitting happily in the center. But this year is a little different for me. This year I've been challenged to fill a basket and give it away to someone who might not know Jesus at all.

For years I've been told, 'reach out to your neighbors,' but have never been taught how to nor have I been given any 'tools' to do so. I have had no idea how to strike up a conversation with my neighbors. I am too shy of a person to boldly go over to their house and knock on their door...and say.. what exactly? My heart has wanted to get to know my neighbors, but I just haven't known how.

Well, once a month my church offers to give us a half-filled basket, (you fill the other half) and find someone in your life that you can bless with it. The church provides a book, a card telling about our church and a gift card to a local restaurant. The first time I heard the announcement of these give-a-way baskets my heart swelled with excitement. I knew just who I wanted to give it to. I had recently gotten my haircut at one of the local salons. The girl who cut my hair was open to listening to me talk about Jesus. We talked for so long that she flat-ironed my hair just so we could keep talking! It was a good conversation. As I left I realized that I only get my haircut every few months. What excuse would I have for going back in and see how she was doing? After hearing the announcement I knew. After church I asked for a basket and began thinking of what I could put inside it. I bought coffee, creamer, tea, hot cocoa, specialty cookies, fruit and the like. I was tooooo excited. The day came. I walked in filled with so much love for her. I told her how after our last conversation that I couldn't stop praying for her and that I put together a little basket just for her. I handed it to her. She really had no words except for a soft thank you. I began to walk away when she called to me and said, "Wait." I turned around and saw that she was standing there with both arms raised to the sky. She said, "Hug?" I went back and hugged and told her that Jesus loves her.

I have since gotten two more baskets to give away. I've been working on filling them for days now. I find the wonderful part of having the baskets in my home, (aside from being given the opportunity to show and tell someone how much  Jesus loves them), is every time I see the baskets I think of the people I want to give them too and pray for them. I am almost done filling the baskets and I'm hoping to give it to them before Easter.

It's not a colorful 'Easter' basket with the loop handle and it doesn't have the green plastic grass, but it will be given with the love of Jesus. And isn't that what Easter is all about? To know the greatest love we have ever known. (For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16) A love so great, a love that would lay down His life for a friend. (Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13) I have been given this great gift, the gift of sharing the most amazing love of the Father with the lost or hurting.

I am so excited to be a part of this evangelistic ministry not just at Easter time, but all year long.

"But the angel said to them, 
"Do not be afraid.
 I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people." (Luke 2:10)

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