Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Do I Do with This?

Usually my blog consists mainly of the column I write each week for my Wednesday night rehearsals. This is not one of those (come to think of it, I haven't posted the one from 8/20 yet ... gotta fixt that once I get this one done). It may become one of those between now and tomorrow noon ... but right now it's not one of those. I had an experience this morning that I have to interpret as God trying to say something to me. That's what this entry is about.

One of the least expensive places to buy gas in my town is conveniently located between the church and my house. I pass it several times every day. The family that runs it is apparently from India or another country in that region of our globe. Depending on the day (and I haven't figured out if there's a pattern to this), it may be the father (graying and slightly balding), the mother (not as gray as her husband ... very little gray, as a matter of fact), or a young man I assume to be their son. Their car tags are from North Carolina, so I also assume that they drive here every day from somewhere near the NC/SC border. I could just pay at the pump with my credit card, but when I'm by myself I often I go in to get a little something to eat and/or drink (which my wife interprets as my rebellion against her attempts to make sure that I eat healthy). This morning it was bottled water and Little Debbie peanut butter bars ... one think healthy, the other not so much.

The family are all three very polite (I always get a sincere "good morning" from them whenever I walk in), but the young man is quite chatty. While he's checking me out, he asks me if I'm on my way to work, what kind of work I do, if I've had a good day (if it's in the evening), etc. And I get the idea that he's sincerely interested ... not just chatting up a customer. Understanding that this family is likely Hindu, I doubt that they have a deep understanding of the good news of Jesus Christ. That's why I've been wondering ... and that's another reason I keep going inside rather than just paying at the pump. I'm always careful to be very polite and friendly ... and I want them to associate that with my face because I have a feeling that God may be giving me an opportunity to share my faith with these people. A friendship is a good starting place for this kind of thing.

This morning, for example, the young man was asking questions as usual. I have told him before that I work at the church, but he probably asks the same questions of enough people that he had forgotten. He asked if I worked at the local accounting firm (I usually dress in chinos and a button-down ... it's nerdy, but it fits my personality).

"No," I responded, "I work at First Baptist Church."

"Every day?" he asked. "The church is open only on Sunday. Why do you have to work there during the week?"

"Well," I answered, "a lot of what I do is getting things ready for worship on Sundays ... and we also have services and activities on Wednesday nights as well."

I don't remember very well how exactly the brief conversation ended, but I remember thinking that it makes sense that someone from a culture so different from the southern norm would not understand why I am at the church full-time when we are "open for business" mainly on Sundays and Wednesdays. As I drove the rest of the way to the church, checked with the secretaries, and tried to get my brain around what I have to do today, the thoughts kept racing around in my head.

These people are as much those for whom Jesus died as are the people who come to worship and fellowship here whenever our doors are open. These are the people for whom the church exists and to whom we need to be extending the love of Christ. And God is probably trying to use the friendliness of this young man as an open door for me to obey His call. I need to ask this young man his name and become his friend so that I can do that. Help me, Lord, to follow where you lead.



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