As I drive around the city, I see advertising signs on businesses that often include changing slogans. Along with the name of the business, it might also include a small bit of wisdom or sage advice.
A car wash sign might note the cost of the wash, or it might say, “Get a fresh start on the day.” That’s probably good advice even if they also want me to think about starting fresh with a car wash.
One storage unit business is on my way to work so I pass its sign every day. The messages under the name of the business are a constantly changing exhortation to improve our lives and make this a better world. “Take care of one another,” it read one morning. On another, “Be honest in your dealings.”
The other day as I drove past, the space under the storage sign simply read, “Love one another.”
Why would a business owner take the valuable space that could be promoting his business, and suggest that we love each other? It was surprising, but it changed me – at least for a few hours. I found myself remembering to be more conscious of letting people cut into traffic ahead of me or being especially nice to the too-talkative guy I usually avoid. What simple things to do.
Aren’t all of us called to do simple things every day to love each other better? Few of us will be asked to sacrifice our lives for someone else, but all of us are asked to reign in our egos, our anger, and our selfishness so we can love others better. That is the cross Jesus asks us to pick up and carry along with him.
We are put on this earth to love each other as fully and generously as we are loved by God, even if that message doesn’t fit on a sign. These messages are in our lives every day, not just on signs but in the lives of the people we encounter. It is the unexpected encounter with God.
Like this morning, when I was running late and zipped by an unfamiliar business – maybe a paint store. Some grace prompted me to note the message under the name of the business:
Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire. Psalm 37