One morning, as I was eating my oatmeal and fruit breakfast at a Starbucks cafe in Westlake Village, Calif., I couldn’t help but notice three older gentlemen who were sitting nearby chatting and enjoying each other’s company. Sitting nearby was another man who occasionally joined in the discussion, but he kept looking at his iPad and seemed to be intent on what he was reading. Suddenly, a woman stopped in front of him and said, “Pastor, thank you so much for the sermon last Sunday. It really spoke to my heart.” Then she said, “this is to show my appreciation for what you do,” and she gave him a Starbuck’s gift card.
As I witnessed this, I was impressed with how important it is for Christ’s followers to connect with people–wherever and whenever they can. I don’t know what this pastor’s particular habits were, but he seemed to know numerous people in the cafe. And I begin to think, if we want to have a part in fulfilling the Gospel Comission–to be salt and light in our communities and among our spheres of influence–we need to be around people. We need to find ways to spend time with people, naturally! Not just for the sake of preaching or giving Bible studies (although it may eventually lead to that), but for the sake of just being friendly and community minded.
When Jesus ministered here, people often met and lingered around water wells. Because everyone needs water, Jesus knew that would be a natural place for him to meet people. I’m impressed with the thought that Jesus didn’t wait for people to come to him. He sought them out.
Somehow we need to step out of our comfort zones and into the flow of people who are coming and going, talking and sharing. God wants us to be a blessing, not with just the people we know and who come to our churches, but with many we have yet to meet. Who knows what might happen if we’ll just take the time to make ourselves a little more acessible.
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