Saturday, June 20, 2009
Surprised by Ministry
My young friend Mark and I agreed to go for coffee after work at the plant. He had much to talk about, as he had just accepted Christ as personal saviour following a reunion with an old Christian high school teacher. There had been earlier talks on faith between the two of us, and he felt a liberty with me.
We were oblivious to the rest of the patrons at Tim Horton's as we talked about what had just happened to him. Our tone of voice and volume were just the same as if the subject had been some "acceptable" item such as sports or movies.
We were hardly aware of the young woman who arrived alone at a nearby table with pull-along oxygen tank and plastic tubes to the nose. She was apparently drawn by our animated exchange and openness in discussing Christ in public.
After a while she just had to interrupt, stating that she too was a Christian. She had agreed to meet her estranged husband there to try to sort out some of the issues in a divorce which the lawyers were chewing on endlessly. Sadly there was another woman in the picture. She had prayed in her car that the Lord would give her some sign to encourage her for the encounter...and there we were yakking.
As a former lawyer (turned factory worker), I was able to make a few suggestions on how to engage in this meeting. I also supported her in this decision of exercising self-help, if only to demonstrate face-to-face her willingness to accomplish some compromise and get things moving. She had assured me that in her estimation the two were not going to be getting back together. There were no children. She had been spurned. She was weary. Tubes all over the place. "Her church frowned on divorce."
Obviously this scene drew a reserve of compassion from Mark and me. We prayed for the woman to be given courage and the right words to say, and for the husband to be moved to be reasonable and conciliatory. Meeting was over. We excused ourselves with smiles and handshakes. Here was an encounter orchestrated by God. Here was the Body of Christ engaging in "foot washing", and all at a "Timmy's".
Out in the car it appeared for a moment as if Mark might explode: "Did you hear that? How did that happen? I never thought it could be so easy to offer such timely help! Man, this should happen every day!"
Well, it doesn't. But if we go about our days, and along our paths, being who we are in Christ, open-faced, natural and sincere, we should expect to be surprised by ministry.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.