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Moving out of our comfort zone

An encounter with an elderly newspaper man at a train station leaves Sally Claydon wondering where we can deliver the gift of Jesus

It’s a summer morning with a bit of a chill in the air and I’m waiting for the sun to truly shine its rays of warmth.
Picture: Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

At the railway station I buy my ticket and walk over the bridge to sit and wait for my train to London. It’s 6.30am and I’m not used to the early commute.

An elderly gentleman with his cap, overcoat and walking stick slowly makes his way down the platform and we greet each other and chat about the weather.  ‘Where are you off to?’ I ask.

‘Nowhere,’ he replies.
It turns out he’s the Metro man - his job is to hand out the early edition of the commuters’ newspaper to businessmen and women off to the big city.

Except that over the years he’s noticed something. He realised that commuters have their morning routine pinned down to the last second, with many arriving at the station as the train pulls in. Mostly season-ticket holders, they have no time or need to enter the ticket office. Some even use an alternative entrance straight onto the London-bound platform.
So, every day, he packs a carrier bag of newspapers and, despite his age and need for a walking aid, he climbs the steps of the bridge over the tracks and makes his way to the London-bound platform, so that he’s there ready to meet his customers and pass them their paper as they hop on the train.
As the train pulls in he wishes us a good day and watches, like a grandfather waving off family, as we pull away.
As I reflected on my encounter with him it occurred to me that as the newspaper is free of charge, he could just leave them in the ticket office for people to help themselves and go back to bed.

And yet he’s motivated to get up each day, whatever the weather, and move from his comfort zone, from his proper spot in the ticket office, to where the need is - over the bridge and on the London-bound platform. Even there he could leave the papers in a pile but no, he knows his customers and is there, as every last one jumps onto the train, ready to hand them a paper.
What a lesson for us all in church and Girls’ Brigade. We have a free gift to give away too.
How often do we move from our comfort zone, from the safety of our four walls, to the places where people are?

Where can we deliver the gift of Jesus - the gift of His love and acceptance - straight into the hands of those who need it?

Sally Claydon is Girls’ Brigade team leader at 1st Hawkwell group, based at Hawkwell Baptist Church, Rochford, Essex. She writes a regular column about the Girls’ Brigade for The Baptist Times.

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