Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re going peacefully along . . . enjoying your life. . . feeling really good about the day . . . and suddenly that “still, small voice” speaks, pointing out something you overlooked, or something you did or didn’t do . . . and it’s one of those moments that makes you go “ouch!”? Well, that happened to me recently . . . and when it does, I’ll usually take up my pen and write a sermon to myself. Here’s the latest one.
Followers of Jesus gather round a restaurant table,
in fellowship they laugh and talk and eat.
Their waitress, just a servant, doesn’t seem quite capable,
and her demeanor, well it isn’t up to speed.
But what a wonderful blessing they had just received;
they’d sought the Lord in praise and prayer and song.
The sermon was anointed and the pastor strongly preached
that the time of Christ’s return would not be long.
The Holy Spirit filled them and the Lord’s presence drew them near,
as they cried “More, Lord! Have your way in me today.”
For the waitress, though, her morning was one of sickness and of fear;
she was pregnant and unmarried and afraid.
She struggled as she tried to meet each customer’s demand,
while inside the fear consumed her like a cancer.
She longed for someone she could talk to; who’d maybe understand;
was there anyone who could help her find an answer?
“Can you take our order now?” “We need silverware.”
“I ordered a Sprite, not a Coke!”
“Where are my fries?” “This burger’s too rare!”
“When you get a minute, please bring me a clean fork!”
Filled to overflowing, they sloshed right out the door,
the name of Jesus never crossed their lips.
A dying soul, so easily ignored,
fights off tears as she counts their paltry tips.
Fill us with a passion for the lost, Lord!
Let us see each one we meet through Your own eyes.
Overwhelm us with a longing that all men would be saved.
Let salvation through Christ Jesus be our cry!
Help us set aside our selfish plans and motives
to step out boldly and proclaim Your words of truth.
… reach out with Your hands
… speak out with Your words
… and lead the lost and dying unto You.
No chance meeting,
every person you encounter
is one who needs the chance
to see Jesus, hear Jesus,
receive some seeds of Truth,
and the only Good News they might ever receive
is the Good News that comes from you.
THEN to add insult to injury, I was reading a Christian blog this week where someone posted the following:
“This past week some friends of mine got together for lunch. After the waitress had done her best to serve them, she asked them, “Is there anything else you guys need?” They said, “No, we’re fine. Is there anything we can do for you?” And when they asked, she opened up her heart to them about problems she was having with her family, job and paying the rent. Before long they were all circled around her and were having a prayer for her. With tears in her eyes, she thanked them as they left, not knowing that they had also put together a tip big enough to help pay her rent.”
Proverbs 25:11: “The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.”
Isaiah 50:4: “The Lord God gives me the right words to encourage the weary.”
One morning this past winter, I had to leave earlier than usual to attend a company meeting, and because my husband was out of town, I needed to walk the dog before I left. We generally walk her down the street and back, and since we don’t have sidewalks and it was “dark as molasses” that morning, I thought it would be wise to take a flashlight . . . not just so I could see, but so passing cars could see me! I switched it on while in the house to make sure the batteries were strong, but because the lights were so bright in the house, I had to turn it towards my face to make sure the light was on. Once outside, the light became a bright beacon, announcing my presence to the darkness and safely lighting my path. It was amazing to me the difference between how fairly indistinguishable the light was while I was in the house, yet how brilliantly it could be seen in the darkness. And immediately I thought: this is how it is for us as believers. When the Light of Christ within us shines forth, it is really the most efficient and the most powerful, when it’s shining forth in the darkness.
There was nothing wrong with the fellowship I was having with my Christian friends that Sunday after church . . . but my light was shining “into the light” that day as I totally ignored the waitress and perhaps an opportunity to shine some light into her life.
Have you ever been out late at night, driving on one of those open stretches of country road, where the road seems to go on forever and there’s not a vehicle in sight but your own? Then, in the distance, the faint glimmer of a motorcycle headlight begins to approach from the opposite direction. As it draws closer, you feel a slight apprehension because it seems to be hugging the center line just a little too closely for your comfort. It isn’t until it’s about to zip past you that you realize it’s not a motorcycle at all, but a car with a burnt-out right headlight.
The other night after experiencing this misconception for probably the umpteenth time in my driving career and really never thinking much about it . . . this time the Lord had something to say.
“How many of my children are walking through their lives with only half of my light shining forth? When only half of my light shines forth, the ones in the darkness see you as something other than what you truly are. You are unrecognizable as my own and perceived to be something other than what I have called you to be.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – truly let the Spirit lead, guide and direct you so my Light will FULLY shine forth from you to every person who crosses your path. I have seen you as you worship me with abandon in the sanctuary. Worship me in the same way in your daily encounters with others. For I have called you to be the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
In Ephesians 5:8,9 Paul says, “For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
Every day—every moment— God provides me with divine appointments, and He wants to use me where I am, with what I know, right now. And sometimes I think I sidestep these opportunities because I’m afraid I’ll say or do the wrong thing . . . but I guess that’s really putting God in a box, isn’t it? Jesus is in me, the Hope of Glory, and it’s an appointment that He’s arranged, so I don’t need to worry about what I’ll say or how I should minister. The Holy Spirit will lead me to say and do the right thing. After all, He knew about the need long before I arrived on the scene, didn’t he? Esther 4:14 says “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” But let me paraphrase it and say “Who knows whether you have come to this restaurant . . . this Walmart . . . this Kroger . . . this hair stylist . . . this day care center . . . for such a time as this?”
Colossians 4:5-6: “Behave yourself wisely in your relationships with those of the outside world (the non Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing the opportunity.”
Just like the flashlight I carried the other morning . . . light shows the way, doesn’t it? And the light of Christ . . . the Light WE carry . . . can show those, who are lost, the way out of darkness, hopelessness and death.
I was thinking today about a song we sing in church sometimes, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; open the eyes of my heart, I want to see You”. But I think maybe He wants to open the eyes of my heart . . . so I will see the lost ones He’s longing to save.
People on the street were just faces,
mixed together in a hurried blur.
Some I might notice, others I’d not;
they certainly weren’t my concern.
There was no desire to know them;
they had their lives, I had mine.
To give much thought to a stranger
was for me just a waste of time.
But then I became a child of the Lord,
and I could actually see
that those “faces” were His creations
with as good a chance as me
to accept Him as their Savior,
thus being strangers to me no more,
but rather my brothers and sisters,
together praising the Lord.
Now I scan every face that approaches,
and praise Him for allowing me to be
an instrument by which He can radiate His love
to the people I pass on the street.
Lord, we ask for your mercy and healing on all those who are lost and broken, groping in the darkness of sin or despair. Send forth the Spirit of your Son to be the Healer and Light to their pain and darkness . . . and, Lord, send us, as disciples of your Son to extend His Love, His Mercy, and His Truth. Don’t let us settle for “shining our light into the light”, but open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, and help us to see the ones you are longing to save. Give us strength and power and boldness to overcome our insecurities and to trust that you have arranged all of our divine appointments, you are in control of each one, and you will give us the words to say. We want to be obedient, Lord, and we want to be used for such a time as this. We look forward to tomorrow, Lord, and the appointments you have arranged for us. Let us bring you glory. In Jesus’ Name we pray! Amen.