"A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.
"In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly-missed boarding.
"Except for one. He paused and took the time to feel compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.
"He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.
"He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her; no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.
"The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.
"When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, 'Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?'
"She nodded through her tears.
"I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly," he added.
"As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, 'Mister....' He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. 'Are you Jesus?'
"He stopped in mid-stride .... and he wondered. He gently went back and said, 'No, I am nothing like Jesus - He is good, kind, caring, loving, and would never have bumped into your display in the first place.'
"The girl gently nodded. 'I only asked,' she said, 'because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples. He sent you to help me, so you are like Him - He knows who will do His will. Thank you for hearing His call, Mister.'
"Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: 'Are you Jesus?'
"Do people mistake you for Jesus?
"That's our goal, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.
"If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.
"You are the apple of His eye even though you, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing to pick us up on a hill called Calvary, paying in full for our damaged fruit. The least we can do in return is to show His love to this lost and dying world -- even when it inconveniences us."
(originally posted 10/29/13)