I was not looking for an opportunity to be a preacher. All I wanted was to purchase some mulch at the discount store and go home but there was a hole in the bag so the cashier sent someone to replace it. Hence, we waited. Then, a shirt was missing a price tag so the cashier once again sent someone to find the correct price. We waited some more. While we waited the cashier talked… boy did he talk.
To pass the time, I started filling out the check and innocently asked: "What is today's date?"
"I don't know. I don't care. All I know is that today is Friday!" he said with emphasis and a grin.
In a feeble attempt to be polite, I replied: "So, you like Fridays?"
"Oh yeah," he said with obvious enthusiasm. "I love Fridays… because it's party time and I love to party! I live to party!"
Before I could respond… he continued: "I drink and party all night long! Yep! My friends and me love to have a good time. We try to do it every night. That's what I live for: friends, drinking and partying."
I thought to myself: "Why is he saying this to me? Should I respond? Should I tell this young man he's making a big mistake? Should I tell him there is another way to enjoy life? Should I talk about God in a crowded department store to a stranger? I really don't want to be a witness right now Lord. I just want to make my purchase and go home. Is there anything wrong with that?"
Yet, if I say nothing it looks as if I approve or at least condone his outrageous behavior. But if I say something… how do I say it without sounding judgmental and arrogant? In essence, I was in a fix.
There is a great verse in the Bible that seems appropriate: "And now dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame." (1 John 2:28) I needed a dose of Godly courage and wisdom to say something appropriate to this young man and let him know I did not approve his actions but loved him as a child of God.
After a pause, I looked at the young cashier and flashed my biggest smile. "I want to thank you for telling me about your parties. I want you to know that you just made my day!"
This time, it was his turn to pause. "What do you mean?" he asked with a look of confusion.
"Well, I'm a preacher and I have been looking for someone who needed prayer today… and you're it!"
His mouth opened in astonishment and he stared at me for a long moment before a smile began to appear. Then he laughed and said: "You won't believe this but that is what my preacher said to me!"
For the next few moments my new young friend talked about his preacher and church. Recently, He had left home to make it on his own. You could see a trace of loneliness in his eyes as he said: "My pastor is a great guy. He writes me occasionally and the church still sends newsletters."
I left the discount store with a bag of mulch and a new perspective on the importance of creatively communicating God's message to each other. What we say and how we say it can mean the difference between healing and hurting. "Evil words destroy one's friends; wise discernment rescues the godly." (Proverbs 11:9)
Whether you are standing in line at a department store or participating in a church committee meeting God is continually offering opportunities to witness your faith. What will you say? How will you say it? Take a deep breath, pause, say a short prayer and remember God's promise, "…continue to live in fellowship with Christ and you will be full of courage…" As for me, I have a new friend to pray for. Isn't that what being a follower of God all about? Now, if I could only get someone to spread this mulch!
Dear Pastor Larry: I joined the "Sowing Seeds of Faith" prayer ministry about a month ago. I've never read so many urgent needs. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of helping to pray and respond to those in need. The Lord told me to plant a seed with your ministry. I have enclosed that seed and wish to do so in honor of our Lord, Savior and Friend, Jesus and Christ and for all the many blessings He has bestowed upon me. May it be a blessing to your ministry as much as you have blessed others. Thanks you. Your sister in Christ, Nancy.
Sowing Seeds Ministry is reaching thousands around the world. To continue offering the quality ministry offered we need help. We are looking for 150 to 200 financial partners who will commit $10 per month. To learn how click here: www.sowingseedsoffaith.com/ministry_partner.htm