A few weeks ago, I had a lunch meeting at Spin Pizza with Ron Carlson and Virgil Covil to discuss the hiring of a new youth pastor at Chapel Oaks (the food was delicious by the way!). Shortly after we were seated a very pleasant manager stopped at our table to make conversation and make sure we were satisfied. Ron took the lead in the conversation and was so warm and friendly it encouraged our new friend to open up. The lady (I will call Pam) finished our conversation with, “Well this is my first day.”
“Working here?” We said.
“No. Quitting smoking”
“Oh,” We replied. We sure wish you the best at that challenge. Then she left.
The rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about Pam. I pray God will use me as a witness for Him but I felt like something more could have been done in that situation to help Pam; but what?
As I was praying the next morning she was on my mind and I believe God impressed me with the thought that I could go have lunch there again and bring a DVD of Dr. Weaver at Loma Linda teaching a class on stopping smoking plus a little promise booklet from John Bradshaw. I got the materials together and then made my way to spin pizza again at lunchtime. Pam was there but I had to ask for her. She was in another area. She seemed a little apprehensive at first but I explained that I was so impressed yesterday to hear that she was stopping smoking that I wanted to give her a little gift of encouragement. She was happy to receive the gift DVD when I explained what it was. I also told her that I was a person of prayer and that if it was okay with her, I would be praying for her. She agreed.
Perhaps the most satisfying response about this encounter was when she returned to my table at the end of my meal and said, “I want you to know that my roommate wants to quit smoking too and we will be watching this DVD together. Thank you so much for bringing this.”
Surely you know what it is like to notice a missed opportunity to minister? When we miss those opportunities sometimes, we get a second chance. Even when we don’t it can help us be more aware the next time God gives us another opportunity. Will you join me in praying regularly for these same attitudes that Jesus had as described in the book Desire of Ages, “At all times and in all places He manifested a loving interest in men, and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety.” p. (86) “He worked to relieve every case of suffering that He saw.” p. (87)
“He spoke a word of sympathy here and a word there, as He saw men weary, yet compelled to bear heavy burdens.” p. (90).
Shall we also pray for eyes to see the opportunities?