Our family visited a small church last month. We chatted with the couple sitting in front of us and then an amazing thing happened: they invited all five of us over for dinner! She made a beautiful ham; I brought a sweet potato casserole and we had a fantastic time. Laughing I told them, “This has never happened in California! We’ve gone to a church for years and never been invited to anyone’s home!”
When Jeff and Jodi invited us over, it reminded me of a fun story that I share in my book about a Peloton delivery and God’s honor- “as a delivery team was setting up our bike, I asked if they wanted something to drink—water or because it was a chilly morning, hot tea. One of the young men perked up and said, “I’d love a cup of tea.” He had just moved to the coast from Arizona and was cold all the time in our Northern Cal weather. When I went into the kitchen to make his tea, I reached for a mug but distinctly felt I should give him one off the top shelf. I grabbed it and made the tea. The mug had printed on it, ‘God will always give me the victory’. I turned it so the words faced him, and said, “This is a true word for you today, my friend, God will always give you the victory. I don’t know what you’re going through, but you’re going to come out on the right side of it.”
Well, what do you think happened next? He just stared at me for an awkward ten seconds. I thought uh-oh I’ve stepped in it now! “But he let out a big sigh and said that he’d just moved to Cali after finishing a career in sports. He was trying to get his life together with a fresh start. He was wondering, even that morning, if God knew where he was. We talked openly for a few minutes, and then I prayed a blessing over his life and plans.” (Gracious Living, p. 185)
Honoring the person in front of you doesn’t take hours or a Ph.D. It requires listening to God’s direction and caring about people.
We sat behind Jeff and Jodi this week at church and watched them graciously reach out to a visitor nearby. Seeing their warmth, humility, and generosity has caused some self-reflection over here: have I given in to shyness or self-centeredness? Are my heart and mind positioned to share the love of God and “entertain angels” as the Bible puts it? Have I missed out on ministry opportunities because I was rigidly committed to my own schedule? Didn’t Jesus say, “I was a stranger and you invited me in”? (Matthew 25:35)
These are the questions I’m pondering over here. How about you, my friend? Do you have God-encounters to share this week? If you are looking for inspiration, check out my book Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. Find it on my website www.MargaretAllen.org or anywhere books are sold.