I love how easy it can be to type something but how challenging it can be to live it. I am sharing this story not for a pat on the back but because I want to remind everyone that we’re made up of daily choices and we’re going to stumble and falter sometimes. Yesterday I failed. That’s okay. Accept it, learn from it and get back out there. I almost failed yesterday.
I have been meeting my Bible group at a well-known café every Wednesday and I love what it is shaping into. A small coed group of us gathering to share Jesus. We’re taking turns “leading” the group and last night was my turn. I had decided to share about being a true Christian and being recognized by our fruits. It’s something I feel passionately about and have been really convicted to share with others.
I’m there early, browsing, when I notice a slightly disheveled man. He’s in line behind me as I order my froofroo drink. He asks if they have free water. At this point I am sizing him up a bit trying to determine his situation. Is he homeless? Is he just trying to rock a grunge look and is frugal? I go and sit down and I watch as he drinks his water. I want to go speak to him and I try to work up the nerve. I begin to approach and then decide that would be rude. Seriously? Sometimes my excuses are so lame I want to give myself a facial high-five.
I can feel the Holy Spirit nudge so I gather myself and go to approach. Darn it – he’d already left. I felt disappointed but a little relieved too. Back into the comfort zone. The relief faded leading to shame and I knew I had to repent. I told God I wanted a do over. The gentleman came back in a few minutes later and this time had about two dollars to get an orange juice. I knew I couldn’t fail again so I took a deep breath and tried to approach without looking like a creeper.
“Sir, can I buy you something to eat?” The shock and joy on his face made me feel so ashamed.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone outside of family has done for me. Are you sure?”
Yes, I was sure. He ordered a pizza and I invited Dennis to come sit with me. I introduced him to my group and tried to find out his story. He had to leave soon after he finished the meal and darted off quickly.
I was thinking about how great it was that Dennis got a good meal and how I hoped he would find somewhere to stay, etc. when I realized that God didn’t want me to focus on what happened with Dennis. He wanted to me to focus on what happened with me. See, if I hadn’t bought Dennis a meal, God would have sent someone else – maybe at a different restaurant but Dennis was going to be fed. The lesson was for me.
The lesson was to see God’s people. Dennis’ story (from what he shared) wasn’t remarkable. He’d been on the west coast and he had family and he was trying to figure out what to do. The real lesson was to show me that I have so much work to do. If I want to serve God and share his message then I need to be willing to share my failures. I was so lucky God gave me another chance – if I am unwilling to help one person with a small, tangible need like that how can I expect to bear fruit. If we don’t respond appropriately in the little tests or lessons, then why do we think we will do well on the big ones? God humbled me and showed me that life in action is as simple as I think.
How do you make sure you’re prepared to serve whenever He calls you? Does anyone else have an experience either where you successfully responded or where you missed an opportunity? ❤