I was just finishing up my shift at the welcome desk at my church when a middle-aged man approached the counter.
“Umm…I signed up for the Friday night equipping classes, but I think I picked the wrong mountain.” He looked completely out of his element and my look of confusion probably wasn’t helping when he referred to ‘the wrong mountain’. “Yeah, I uh… I picked the ministry class, but it’s probably the wrong one; I’m just a construction worker.”
Then the bell went off. The mountain he was referring to was part of the Seven Mountains Ministry training sessions our church was offering . ” Okay, I gotcha. By the way, do you minister to your co-workers in your role as a construction worker?” I asked with a smile.
His look was painful. “I try. I mean, I used to be a drug addict and then Jesus saved me. I want to share that with people, but–”
“Then you totally belong on the ministry mountain,” I interrupted. “Your ministry is anywhere you are that you are sharing the Good News,” I assured him. “Some pastors would say that people who evangelize in the workplace have a greater ministry than a preacher who stands in front of the congregation every Sunday. Plus, you have a very compelling testimony.”
His posture straightened with renewed confidence, but he still had questions. “Okay, cool. It’s just that I don’t know enough. I mean, I feel like I don’t know how to do it; I don’t know what to say.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
We shook hands. “Jeremy, can I tell you something?”
“When I was wanting to share my faith with my family, I spent a lot of time talking; trying to explain it through words. It did not go well. Then one day, I spontaneously hopped in my car, drove two and a half hours to my parents and proceeded to clean out and plant their flower beds. It took me over four hours to do it, and I still had to drive the two and a half hours back to the city.”
Jeremy had that look that said he was wondering where I was going with this.
“During that time, Jeremy, when my back felt like it was breaking and my nails were full of dirt, I heard the Lord speak to me. He said, ‘This is how you teach them about Me. Not through words, but by being Me–loving them, serving them.’ “
Jeremy was all smiles by this time.
“See?” I bubbled over enthusiastically. “You don’t need to worry about having the words, you just have to have the heart to love your co-workers. When you need the words, God will give them to you.”
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to radical obedience lately, so when I heard that gentle whisper in my spirit that said, pray for him, the time between hearing the command and following through could have been measured with an angel hair.
“Jeremy,” I asked. “Can I pray for you?”
Before he had time to react, I had reached across the counter and took him by the hands. I took no notice of my supervisor at the desk with me, nor the other people milling about the front foyer, as I prayed for my new friend. When I said, amen, I looked up to see tears streaming down Jeremy’s face.
“Thank you,” he said, wiping the tears with the back of his hand, “That was a surprise.”
“Yeah, God surprised me with that one too,” I laughed.
My prayer for Jeremy and my prayer for you, the reader, is the same:
That you would know that you are qualified by your heavenly Father, and you cannot be disqualified by your past nor future mistakes. That you would be assured that God can take your mess and turn it into your message. That when you don’t know the ‘right words to say’, the Holy Spirit would fill you with words that would blow even your own mind as you hear them leave your mouth– and that would create in you a deeper hunger to know and seek understanding of His word. I pray that you would have an intimate encounter with the Lord where He reveals just how much He intercedes for you, cheers for you , protects you, and just how very much He loves you.
Yes and amen.