Listen to this story
By Greg Gerber
I went to the post office on Saturday, and encountered a woman coming out of the building as I was going in. She stopped me and asked if I would like a poem.
Thinking she was going to recite some fun little prose, she instead handed me a numbered envelope. She explained it was her all-time favorite poem and she shares it with others wherever she goes. It looked like she had several envelopes with POEM written on the front along with a number.
Mine was 1,701.
She explained that I was the 1,701st person to receive this poem since she started tracking her efforts many years ago.
The poem was titled “A world without tears.” It was a faith-based poem about living in peace and without pain. Here’s one verse:
“Now a world without tears is not just a dream,
As many a person might make it to seem.
For just as sure as the Bible is true,
A world without tears now lies before you.”
The poem elaborated on the guarantee of eternal life and the good news of the gospel. She had included a simple gospel tract in the envelope that guided people to various websites to get more faith-based material.
As she walked to her car parked in a handicapped stall, I checked the mail and stopped her as she was about to close her door. I explained that I had read a similar poem many years ago, and I thanked her for sharing it.
She reiterated that it was her favorite and she knows it brings joy to many, and causes others to think. Then, she offered me a hug, too, and wished me a happy day.
The frail, elderly woman did not preach an in-your-face gospel message. She wasn’t condemning people for their choices, beliefs, attitudes or words. She never suggested they risked going to hell if they didn’t do something.
She was just sharing the love she had for God with others who she thought might benefit from some encouragement.
I don’t know what enticed her to stop me for this chance encounter. Perhaps it was my rapid pace, and she was inviting me to slow down. Perhaps the stress on my face indicated I had a lot of wordly things on my mind.
But, she was sharing God’s word in a way that truly reminded Christians of what they already possess, and enticed others to learn more about God and Jesus. Many people probably wondered why did this woman, who could hardly walk, seemed so content and joyful despite her condition?
Somehow, I suspect she has ushered more souls into heaven with her simple approach to evangelism than any Facebook meme or online argument ever would.
She is a truly impactful Christian who is living out, in a practical way, the instructions found in 1 Peter 3:13-16:
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
I walked away wondering how many lives were altered forever by this kind and gentle woman’s momentary act of kindness and love.