Last week, I had the opportunity to guest post over at Kate Megill's Teaching What Is Good, as part of the Wordcount Blogathon Guest Post Challenge. If you haven't read that post yet, you can pop over and read it now. (Just be sure to come back! :) And be sure to read Kate's post here on Ponderings of an Elect Exile on Jacob's Confrontation with God-so good!)
In that post, I shared some of what God has been teaching me lately:
- You never know who you are impacting and how.
- God can teach us/influence us through unlikely people.
- Keep doing (or start doing!) what you know you are supposed to do. (We need to spend less time trying to figure out what God wants us to do and more time doing what we already know He wants us to do.)
- We are to teach and make disciples "as we are going".
I closed that post with these words:
I was reminded again Sunday night that the “Go ye therefore” in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in the original language is actually “As you are going…”.
We are to teach and make disciples “as we are going”. As we are going about life, wherever we are, whether at home or work or play, in our hometown or across the world, we are to teach and make disciples. Just as that unlikely convenience store theologian did, just as our sweet friend did with my daughter, we are to share Jesus and what He has done for us wherever we go with whomever we encounter.
We are to do what we know He has told us to do, and we are not to worry about the results. He is the one who does the work. We may never know who we are impacting and how…we are simply to take joy in our obedience and trust Him to work in and through us.
I wrote those words on Tuesday. God had been teaching and convicting, and I had been learning and praying for opportunities. I know that right now my primary ministry is the children God has given me to nurture and train and disciple. That is the deepest desire of my heart.
However, I've been so impressed recently that even though I may not be encountering other people all day at a job or in a classroom or on a foreign mission field, God does bring people across my path "as I am going". There are neighbors I can build relationships with, and strangers who cross my path with whom I can share an encouraging word. I have been praying that God will help me see the opportunities He provides along the way and act on them.
Fast forward to Sunday. We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home, because Friday was "one of those days", and we never finished the two-week shopping trip that was scheduled for that day. As the checker was scanning our items, we did the usual "Hi, how are you?" pleasantries, until she responded to my "Fine, how are you?" with "Tired. Really tired. My husband had to go to the emergency room last night and it took 6 hours." I replied sympathetically and she continued to tell us about her husband's medical issues. She was obviously exhausted and worried.
That's when I felt the prick. That little prod. "Tell her you will pray." Now...we had just Wednesday night...the day after I wrote the above post for my friend Kate's blog...heard a very powerful and convicting sermon about the work of the Holy Spirit, and how we grieve and quench Him when we don't obey.
In other words, I knew better. That sermon...and my blog post...were fresh on my mind.
"Tell her. Tell her you will pray for them." The still, small voice continued with its conviction.
But I didn't.
The other voices stilled my tongue. You know the ones...the ones saying, "What if you offend her?" "What if she thinks you're crazy?" "You're almost finished checking out. There are people behind you. You don't have time to get into a deep conversation right now."
So instead, I made inane, if sympathetic, conversation as I paid for our groceries. As we finished, I said, "I hope your husband gets better." The prodding was still there, "Tell her you will pray."
But I didn't.
As we walked away, she said, "Thank you. You might say a little prayer for us!"
"I will," I said, feeling the tiniest bit like Peter when the cock crowed.
I wasn't being tortured. My children weren't being threatened. I was simply worried about what people around me would think...people that I in all likelihood would never see again.
I keep telling my children, "It doesn't do any good to learn it, if we don't do it."
I've done a lot of learning lately. But on Sunday afternoon, I didn't do.
I've prayed for that nameless Wal-Mart checker and her husband all week. I'll be watching for her in the store from now on, and if I see her, I plan to tell her that I've been praying for her. But I missed out on a chance to encourage her on a hard day. And I missed out on the blessing of obeying that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.
I'm in the midst of a Bible study on 1 and 2 Peter right now. I'm thankful for the reminder that just because Peter gave in to fear and denied Christ, God didn't wipe His hands of him. Peter repented and God used him mightily afterward.
I'm praying for another opportunity, and I'm asking God for the boldness to obey when that opportunity comes. I want to remember the day I didn't...and make the next one the day I did.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.~James 1:22
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