We all do it. We all are impatient when we have places to go, deadlines to meet, a schedule to fulfill, and then we find ourselves catching every red light along the way. We sit at that light fussing and fuming, or blow the horn at the slowpoke in front of us because it’s all about ourselves and what we need to get done. Do we ever think that maybe God has us at a red light for a reason? Maybe He wants us to stop and look around at what is going on just for a minute because there may be some kind of sign or message He’s trying to send.
There is a man in Tuscaloosa, Alabama named James David Bonner. He stands on the corner of 15th and University in front of a Bojangles pretty much every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. He stands on that very busy corner holding up a handmade sign. In large red letters one sign reads, “Jesus Will Save You” and another reads, “Jesus Loves You”. All day he stands there on that corner with a huge smile. People drive by, wave, honk their horns and James David excitedly waves back. When Phillip and I visit our daughter and son inlaw in Tuscaloosa, we drive right by that James David Bonner standing on the corner and I always wonder how many seeds for God this man has planted while standing there day after day. I also wonder how many people drive by and ignore those signs.
The other day Phillip and I were in Tuscaloosa, and there stood James David as usual with his sign and a smile. We drove by him, waved and proceeded to the Walgreens on the corner across the road. We were on a mission, so I didn’t really pay attention to much of anything else. When we came out of that Walgreens and were getting into our truck, I paused to look at that sign being waved across the street “Jesus Loves You” and as I looked to my left about fifty yards from that sign, I saw a young woman pull over on that busy street, get out of her car, and approach two homeless people sitting there surrounded by a pile of everything they owned. I watched as she spoke to them and then handed them money I suppose. As all those cars raced by, this young woman had stopped long enough to show kindness. With my mind set on our own mission, I hadn’t even noticed those two people in need sitting on the side of the road. I was just thinking about what I had to do for myself. I had ignored what was practically right in front of my face. At that moment I heard God tell me, “Slow down, look around, and see what is going on in your one little corner of the world.” Because I had slowed down to look at my surroundings, I witnessed simultaneously God’s seeds being planted and an act of kindness. I saw the love of Jesus all on one little corner of the world. What had I missed at all the other intersections of my life because I had been focused on me?
We all stand on our one little corner of the world whether it be in our neighborhood, our church, our school, at work, on a plane, or in our car at an intersection, we are all in a place God wants us to be. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves standing on our one little corner, that we refuse to see what is right in front of our face. God wants us to slow down, stop a second and look around for a sign. That is how we hear Him speak and see His ways….. stop, look, listen. He’s probably waving that big red lettered sign in front of your face right now. What is God wanting from you?
Today if you find yourself at a red light, there is probably a reason for it. Take your focus for a second off of your frustration and your destination. Look at your surroundings. You may see God’s seeds being planted, a person He’s calling you to help, or an act of kindness that will make you smile. God is on every little corner in this great big world. Imagine how much better things would be if we would all just take a moment to look around, open our eyes and see.
James David Bonner and me early in the morning of the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He doesn’t do interviews, but he’ll gladly take a picture as long as his sign gets in that picture. He told me that one day God just led him to stand on that corner. Everyone is kind to him and he’s had no complaints against him as far as he knows. While we were standing there, a woman came by to hand him a cup of coffee and others drove by just to say hello. He handed us a few Billy Graham pamphlets on being a Believer and thanked us for stopping by. I’m sure we’ll stop by next time we’re in T-town. Oh and for my Chattanooga friends, James David’s cousin, J.D. (John Daniel) Bonner is an eye doctor here in case any of you are in need. Roll Tide.