I first met Melissa when she peaked into the room I had been speaking in for two days at a LifeWay “You Lead” conference held on the lower level of the Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois. Hubby and I were packing up my book table and speaking props.
Everyone had cleared out quickly when the conference ended, but suddenly, there was this sweet woman in a pink t-shirt asking, “Do you need any help?”
“We’re just packing up,” I said. “But do you know where the freight elevator is?”
The previous day, we had made numerous trips lugging book boxes and speaking gear down a long steep ramp to the meeting rooms in the basement, and I knew there was no way we could lug them back up the ramp.
She replied, “Yes, I know right where it is, and I can get you a flatbed cart. My name is Melissa and I just helped the LifeWay Store lady take boxes of books up to her car. I’ll go get the cart for you.”
A few minutes later, Melissa returned with a huge flatbed cart and started helping Dave put all our boxes on it while I cleaned up the room and folded tablecloths from the booktable. Melissa told me that she and her children work in a ministry where they learned to fold clothes neatly. She seemed in no hurry as it took me many tries to get the tablecloths back in their wrappers ready for the next book table, and Dave figured out the best way to load everything on the cart.
When all the “stuff” was on the flatbed cart, we asked where the freight elevator was and Melissa offered, “I’ll take the cart up the elevator while Dave goes to get the car. I’ll meet you outside.” And off she went with the heavy-laden cart. She shrugged off our protests that one of us should help her, “No problem! I just helped the LifeWay bookstore lady do the same thing.”
Dave hurried up the ramp to get the car and I finished tidying up the room. Then I headed off to find Melissa who was standing outside guarding our cart, waiting for Dave. When Dave arrived with the car, she insisted on helping us load the car!
We couldn’t stop thanking and praising Melissa for all her help. I told her she was our angel . . . we were both tired after two days of wonderful serving, and it would have taken us many trips using our little carts. I asked if she was going to see Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live event that night. She said yes, and remarked how surprised she was that women were already lining up at 3:00 when it didn’t start until 7 pm!
We both gave Melissa hugs and thanked her profusely, but she thanked us for coming to speak! Then, our angel in the pretty pink T-shirt was gone. Dave and I drove away still marveling at Melissa’s servant’s heart and God’s timing in bringing us a helping angel.
I have thought a lot about Melissa this week and wondered . . .
- Would I have stuck around to be sure that everyone who needed help received it?
- Would I have rationalized that I had already helped the LifeWay Bookstore lady and that was enough lugging books for one day?
- Would I have just told Dave where the cart and freight elevator were, instead of obtaining the cart, helping load it, pushing it to the elevator, and waiting with it?
- Would I have been impatient with us taking so long to get everything packed up just right, knowing that women were already lining up to get in to see Beth Moore and she could have gotten a good spot in line?
- Would I have expected nothing in return for my efforts but the joy of serving?
I’d like to think so. How about you?
“Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Mark 9:35