Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. (1 Peter 3:15 NLT)
Have you ever had one of those divine appointment moments? You know, an encounter you have with someone that you just know God has set it up. I had one of those yesterday. We are having some work done on our home and a gentleman came to do some work. Of course I could have just focused on what I had to do. There’s an old joke that I have used many times, “You know a pastor only works one day a week.” But, I really did have plenty to do, and could have just stayed focused on my work.
We can all do that, right? We can put our noses down, so to speak, and focus on the task at hand. But, you and I have a bigger job, a greater task, that all followers of Jesus are to be engaged in, and that is to share the love of Jesus Christ with those around us.
Sometimes divine appointments just fall into our laps, but other times we may have to “work” a little bit and see what happens. That’s how it was yesterday. As the man was doing his work I just began to ask him some questions about his work. Questions like: “How long have you been doing this?” “Do you enjoy the work?” “What’s the hardest part of what you do?” Those types of questions often open the door for other questions: “Are you married?” “Do you have any children?” “Where are you from?”
Asking questions shows people that you are genuinely interested in their lives. It gives them the opportunity to talk about their lives, something most people want to do. And, it helps to build the bridge to a relationship where they are open to talking about other things, spiritual things.
It would take too long to write everything about our encounter, but he noticed my guitars in my office and began to ask me some questions about them. As we were talking about them I mentioned that I have used them in church some. That opened the door to ask him about church: “Do you go to church?” “Did you grow up in church?” “Do you ever give much thought to church?”
As we talked a sort of strange look came over him. He suddenly asked me, “You wouldn’t happen to be the pastor of Cross Culture Church, would you?” I was surprised but said, “Yes, I am. How did you know that?” He said that as we were talking he suddenly realized that he had seen me before. It turns out one of you had invited him to Cross Culture a couple of years ago, and he came. He said he really enjoyed the whole thing. He specifically mentioned the way he felt welcomed by all the people.
When I asked him why he never came back he said, “I don’t know, just the busyness of life I guess?” The conversation progressed to the point that he began to share with me some serious struggles he and his family were going through right now. I asked him if I could pray for them, and his reaction was almost like a thirsty man reaching for a drink of water.
As we prayed I could hear the man sobbing. When we finished he wiped the tears from his face and thanked me. I encouraged him to come be with us again at Cross Culture, and I also told him that everything he and his family needed will only be found in a close relationship with Jesus Christ.
When he got ready to leave he hugged us both and told us that when he came in our door that morning, and Cindi greeted him, he said he just felt the joy and peace in this home. (He should have been around the last time I told Cindi I got another guitar!) But the point is we don’t have to be perfect to be used by God, we just have to be available. We just have to be willing to look up from our hectic lives and busy schedules and see those around us. We just have to say to God, “Father, please use me to impact others lives. Please use me to grow Your Kingdom.”
Divine appointments may not happen everyday, but everyday we can look for them, and be ready for them when they do come.
I love being your pastor,
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."