Someone bought me coffee today. She was a beautiful black woman with long braids and a bright smile on her face. I don’t know where she came from or where she was headed. The only words she spoke to me were, “I think I’m supposed to buy your drink today,” and “God bless you.” I was struck by her kindness and generosity, to the point of wanting to be like her myself.
I don’t know why she felt compelled to buy my drink. I was counting up the handful of change I had in my pocket, so maybe I looked a little desperate standing there in front of the cashier. But whatever her reasoning, she did something astounding for me.
She said, “I think I’m supposed to.” That means she was responding to something bigger than herself. I suppose that something bigger than herself knew my heart as I walked into Starbucks. Lately I have been thinking about the person I want to be. I sometimes fear that I’m obsessed with self-improvement and for all the wrong reasons. And I walked into that coffee shop with two books and a piece of paper in hand, pen in my mouth, planning to write down the character and qualities that I want to be focusing on in my life.
But she turned my thinking around. Just after she left and I sat down with my iced chai latte, I wrote down a list of ten things I want to do in the next week. Included on it were, “do something random and spontaneous to bless each of my sisters,” “buy someone else’s drink at Starbucks,” etc.
And as I was making this list, I realized that the woman who came in and bought my drink was probably not trying to check something off a list. I remembered that the person I want to be is the person who imitates Christ, not in actions but in essence. We have not been given a list of dos and don’ts. Our God-man Savior obliterated the legalism that gave rise to hypocrisy. He wants my heart, not just my deeds.
So number ten on my list became numbers one through ten. It takes care of the others. It is this: Decide who you want to be. Every single day. And who I want to be is a manalive, a woman who commits herself every single day to her Savior, a person who allows Christ to cultivate within her a nature that needs no reminder to be a blessing, that needs no lists, no to-dos.
This is who I am: I’ve been born again. The Cross is my defense and my hope, and I'm finding who I am in all that my Savior is.
Bro. Ray Newcomb, a Tribute
3 weeks ago