It was a weeknight when I met Dave.  After meeting him, I immediately liked him.  He reminded me of my grandfather; he could make you laugh one minute and teach you a life lesson the next.  He was full of wisdom, but his wise words were hidden behind his sense of humor, as if he were trying to protect the understanding that he had acquired of life.  Dave didn't speak clearly and his body curled into itself.  Although he was a grown man making his way into his elderly years, his physical stature made him look no bigger than a child.  Anyone, by simply looking at him, wouldn't think that he would be capable of much.  But the night I met Dave, he enriched my life. 

I don't remember exactly, but I probably had a boatload of AP US History homework to complete that night.  I was juggling college decisions along with college-level courses, all while dealing with personal issues and singing for Christ on the side.  I felt torn in a million different directions and my heart was attempting to repair itself.  So it wouldn't surprise me if the smile I offered Dave upon leaving the nursing home was the first smile he had seen from me.

He smiled in return, but then his face contorted into an utter look of seriousness.  It was as if the moment he was about to share with me was going to be big and I needed to pay close attention.  He looked at me intently and for a brief moment, I wondered if he could see everything I had been through.  Could he see the stress?  Could he see the unanswered questions?  Could he see the fear and lack of faith?  Could he see my broken heart, the one I was desperately attempting to piece back together so I could potentially offer it again?  

I'm fairly certain Dave did not possess x-ray vision, but it felt like he understood.  He didn't know anything about me.  I had simply come into the nursing home to sing and then go on home to the pile of American history awaiting me, I'm sure.  But it felt like he knew I was hurting without really knowing me at all.  

That night, Dave told me to keep my smile.  He said it had the power to light up the world.  It wasn't an earth-shattering revelation, but my heart swelled.  This man didn't know me or the things that I was going through, but his words were spoken as someone who knew life could beat the life right out of you.  This man, as eccentric as he was, was offering such beautiful words of simple wisdom. 

For a moment in time, it felt like God had handpicked this moment just for me.  I needed a reminder to smile, and He sent it in the most unexpected manner.  An elderly man in a wheelchair, his limbs folded close to him, was used as an instrument of God.  He didn't save the world or even save a life, but he was right where I needed him to be, saying exactly what I needed him to say.

It is so easy to be a vessel used by God that we often complicate things.  Dave didn't do anything special.  He was right where he'd always been, being the man he always was.  You don't have to have a doctorate in order for God to use you.  You don't have to be a missionary to share Christ with the world. 

Don't sit there and grow complacent in your love for God because you don't feel qualified to be His ambassador.  It's not about being qualified.  It's about being willing and obedient.  Don't underestimate God or His plan for your life.  It is beautiful and full of impact.

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