What a thrill to have the opportunity to travel this great nation. Our great adventure began on Friday the 13th of November 2015. We are but three days into this adventure and 3 of the 5 states we have traveled through have been the picture of patriotism and grace that you think of when you think of the “Old Fashioned” USA. The people who represent these wonderful states make me believe that “please” and “thank you” are respectful terms that are still in use. We have been treated with the utmost respect and people aren’t afraid to shoot you a smile or give you a kind word to send you on your way. I have seen multiple displays of faith in people’s business windows. Sayings like “smile, God loves you!”, “Jesus saves” and “God Bless you”. I even saw a “Travelers Chapel” built right into a western walk strip mall in the charming city of Wall, South Dakoda.
In fact, Wall Drug was the most unique and pleasant experience. Starting around 50 miles West of Rapid City, we began to see signs announce “Wall Drug”. Jeff and I had driven across the Nation once before, 25 years ago, we knew it was coming, but I was surprised to see the first sign shortly after leaving Devils Tower National Park in South Dakota. We knew that this “Wall Drug” billboard campaign was so extensive, we decided that we would have the kids count how many signs we saw between Rapid City, SD and Wall Drug. There was 43 miles between the two cities so we all made an estimate of how many signs we would see with reference to Wall Drug. I guessed 30 signs, Daniel -13, Emily -40, Jeff -38 and Sophia said 50. The adventure began. With 12 miles of leaving Rapid City we had counted over 13 signs. It was a torrent of signs, all original. No two signs were the same so we took time to read them all. “Wall Drug, .05 coffee” a dinosaur say, “Wall Drug! Have Lunch or be Lunch”, “It’s cool at Wall Drug”, “Camping Supplies @ Wall Drug”, “Black Hills Gold, Wall Drug”, “Homemade Pie, Wall Drug”, “FREE ICE WATER @ Wall Drug.” The signs went on and on. At first, it was surprising the amount. Then, a little annoying when I realized how bad I would lose. Then it became intriguing. Soon we were joyfully anticipating the next sign. When it was time to actually visit Wall Drug, you can bet that the excitement and anticipation was so high that we would never consider missing our exit. Those signs led us directly to the most charming and warm Western Strip Mall I have ever visited. There were 76 signs in all.
When we arrived, we were greeted by friendly workers, given directions on how to get around the shopping complex and the invited to enjoy a .05 cup of coffee and some homemade hard ice cream. My favorite part of the mall was the wall of handcrafted crosses on the back wall of store inspired Indian art of the west, and the trip pass the “Travelers Chapel”. This shopping complex made it very clear where their source of inspiration came from. They weren’t ashamed to show their hospitality to the world and they did it by offering “Free Ice Water” to people passing by on a hot dusty road. I was touched and inspired. This entire complex was built on offering free ice water. Amazing.
It made me think about the Christians who live here in the USA. What “signs” are you putting up for the World to see? Are you putting up signs that say, “I am unavailable”, “I am too busy”, “You are none of my business”, “You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with my life.”? It seems like so many people are emotionally unavailable. However, it should not be that way for Christians. God has called us to a higher calling. He has asked us to be a “sign” directing travelers to His son, Jesus. He has asked us to go into the World and be a light, a lit sign is a good way to look at it. Our signs should read loud and clear, “I care about you enough to look you in the eye when I am talking to you.”, “Your life matters to me”, “you are welcome to join us”, “I will be your friend”, “Smile, it turns away sadness”, “My joy is Jesus”, “Smile God loves you”, “There is a savior, His name is Jesus”, “I believe in the power of prayer”. These are all signs that we can hang around out neck without even saying a word.
How, you may ask, can I hang those signs around my neck without saying a word? Well, the statement, “what you think about you bring about,” is more true than you may think. Think about these things. Meditate on God’s goodness and you will reflect God’s goodness. Think about and meditate on caring for others more than you care for yourself and you will begin to show your care for others. Contemplate on how much joy God brings to your life and you will be joyful. Focus on the blessings and rebuke the bad. Give thanksgiving and honor to God continuously and you will begin to be a person full of gratitude and kindness. Focus on Jesus as being our “living water” and you will be offering that “Living Water” to everyone one you meet, just by the life you live. Then when someone asks you about all these signs you are putting up for people to read, be ready with an answer. That is your testimony.
Think about it. We can draw people to Jesus by the masses just by putting out the right signs. “Free living water, come drink your fill”