I once heard a story of a king who placed a heavy stone in the middle of a roadway. He hid nearby, curious to see who would eventually stop and remove the annoying obstacle. What he observed were many people that glanced at the large rock and blamed the government for not keeping the street clear, but none took the initiative to remove the stone. Finally, a poor peasant stopped and rolled it into the gutter. To his surprise he found a large sack full of gold where the rock had stood. The king approached the man and informed him that the gold was his to keep as a reward for performing this act of service.
As the winds blow confirming the arrival of fall, leaves are not the only things to litter the parking lots of restaurants and other businesses. Mixed in with creation's colorful clutter is usually a whole lot of trash - paper, cups, cigarette butts, bottles, etc. Unfortunately in our fast-paced society, both employees and customers rarely find the desire or time to remove this litter.
This month, spend some time as a small group picking up trash in an area of town with several businesses and/or restaurants. Preferably, plan this time for a Saturday when the area is busy with weekend customers. Before you start, talk with the managers of the businesses and restaurants. Let them know that you are cleaning up their parking lots as a service project to show the community the love of God.
Begin your clean-up time with a short prayer then work in groups of 2 or 3. Encourage each group to pray for the employees of the businesses and customers they see as they pick up trash. Enjoy the odd looks you may get from customers and be prepared to give an answer if they question what you are doing. The simple words of Steve Sjogren, "We just want to show you God's love in a practical way," may open up an opportunity to share your faith in Jesus. Conclude your service time with a visit to one of the restaurants for some iced tea or ice cream. Give everyone a chance to share what he or she experienced during this time.
Every piece of litter that you and your group members pick up will reveal the treasure of our service to others. Our King, the Lord God, will be standing nearby, ready to use this opportunity to bless those in the community that you live in.