There’s a whole new set of heroes in my book these days. I’ve been watching them for weeks now – ever since the start of the year. I’ve seen them display courage, personal fortitude and steadfastness… all qualities a hero most possess, even if gaining the respect of those around them is not their primary quest. And truly my admiration of these people has grown as I’ve seen them display these attributes day after day.
My new heroes are the employees of Liberty Tax Service, one of the many tax preparation businesses that pop up in strip malls everywhere at the start of each year. These people are hired to stand at the side of the road and advertise their company to motorists passing by.
I didn’t consider them heroes at first. I laughed at them in fact, as surely most of the city must’ve likewise been chuckling at the sight of them dressed in long turquoise-green robes to resemble the Statue of Liberty, complete to the pointed crown on their heads. They’ve looked ridiculous as they’ve jumped and waved and attempted to get the attention of passing drivers.
But my laughter later turned to respect, simply because they’ve stayed. They didn’t quit their jobs when the weather suddenly turned cold. It’s one thing to stand on a sidewalk when it’s 60 degrees outside, and another thing entirely when the thermometer reads in single digits and the wind chill drops below zero. They’ve simply donned more clothes underneath their costumes and have stood their ground.
And people have noticed. My sons have taken to texting each other on their cell phones each time they drive past Liberty’s local storefront and see the sign carriers still in place. The existence of those messages alone is an indication that something unusual is happening on that sidewalk.
There was the afternoon when the leading edge of a winter storm blew into town and was expected to drop four to six inches of fluffy dry snow on the ground. Businesses closed early, schools scheduled early dismissal, and people everywhere rushed home to beat the full onslaught of the winter weather. In the midst of his own efforts to get home safely my son took the time to text the message, “The Liberty tax guys are still out there…” as he drove by. The next morning, when most people had yet to dig themselves out of the snow drifts, came another message of similar content: “Liberty has it’s people out.” Even the local newspaper published a picture of one of the men in a recent edition, his costume in place, one hand in the air while the other held his sign, snow clearly visible in the background.
Liberty’s advertising scheme has been a success. Because these people have stayed through the worst weather we’ve had in two years, their message has stayed in my mind. Were I looking for a tax service to prepare a return today, I wouldn’t go to a big name like H & R Block , Jackson & Hewett or to any of the other less well known tax services that have popped up everywhere seemingly overnight. No, I’d head to Liberty Tax Service, basing my decision not on any knowledge of the quality their work but solely on the character I’ve seen their employees display day after day.
What a lesson there is in this for us who have likewise been called to proclaim liberty! We, too, have a job to do – to put our God’s name out where people can see it – to advertise that the help they need is available should they choose to give it a try. We may not have to wear ridiculous costumes, but we might have to be willing to look foolish at times, as the very nature of what we’re offering causes us to stand out from the crowd. We’re required to hang tough, not only when the spiritual conditions are favorable, but especially when the atmosphere around us turns chilly and storms arise that we need to battle our way through.
The term “staying power” in the spiritual realm has a meaning beyond the supernatural ability to stand one’s ground in the midst of difficulties and hardships. Steadfastness to one’s beliefs carries with it a drawing card of sorts that goes beyond mere name recognition (as in a tax service) and actually pulls on the heart. People wonder if there mustn’t be something to a message that produces such persistent determination and faithfulness. Someone, somewhere, might decide to give God a try, simply because a believer stood his ground and didn’t waver in his faith when times got tough.
I can’t drive by the men on the sidewalk anymore without giving them some kind of response. I smile and wave at them as I go by, an action which seems to generate even more energy on their parts. Suddenly they give me a thumbs up and smile in return, glad to receive something besides the blank stares of so many passing motorists.
Shouldn’t we do the same for those who are standing their ground in whatever part of the world God has placed them? Think what a word or encouragement, a heartfelt prayer or maybe a little financial support might do for somebody who is speaking for God in a difficult spot. They might just stay at their post a little longer as a result. And we’d both be heroes in God’s book as a result.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1 KJV, emphasis mine)
Welcome to my blog! I hope you find something here to bless and encourage you. I love writing about incidents in my life that reveal God's active presence in it and His incredible love for us all. I'm a happily married mother of three wonderful sons.
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