Have you ever thought about what it would be like if any person you’ve came into contact with during the past week decided to visit your church Sunday?
To clarify, I’m not referring to someone who you may have been praying for and inviting for weeks. I’m talking about someone you’ve come in contact with randomly. Someone you wouldn’t have planned on walking through your church doors.
For instance, the cashier who thought the details of her coworker’s date the night before was way more interesting than the $300 you were spending on groceries. She never said a word to you. She rang up your items, made you look at the screen to see your total, and then handed you your receipt without a simple thank you. I mean come on, your grocery bill just paid her for 2 days of work and she didn’t even say thank you? So in return she totally deserved the glare you gave as you jerked the receipt from her hand and stuffed it into the bag with the frozen chicken and 6 cans of green beans, which incidentally broke when you got it out of the car later. If she were to visit your church maybe your sticker would read:
Hello, My name is: I’M BETTER THAN YOU
What about the person who pulled into your parking spot when you were obviously about to pull into it? Your evening was perfect, your plans well laid out, and look, the Lord even blessed you with a perfect parking spot. You drive up to it, thanking God for “the small things“, and put your turn signal on to pull in. Just as you do, out of nowhere, someone zips into it. Where did they come from anyway? Well, you certainly have your opinion, which you share quite audibly. Your window was up so they probably didn’t hear you over your blaring horn. Your sticker?
Hello, My name is: JERK
How about the lady in the drive-thru that got your order wrong? When you were almost out of gas. And late for work. Seriously people. It’s a drive-thru. It’s supposed to be fast, right? If she can’t keep up, move on to another position. Hopefully she overheard as you shared your disapproval with the person you were talking to on the cell phone when she handed you your order, for the second time. Write it big for all to see…
Hello, My name is: IMPATIENT
These and a thousand other examples could happen any day of the week. It’s part of life and it can be frustrating. Two thoughts come to mind, however.
First, Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
Second, First Impressions Are Everything.
The way we treat someone this week could come back to help us or hurt us if they decide to show up at our church next Sunday. If I am remembered as rude, impatient, and proud, how can I expect to lead anyone to Christ? All of the words in the world will not cover up how they have seen me act. It’s not always easy and we may be unsuccessful sometimes. I know I am. To help me improve, I’ve found that one of the best things I can do is to ask God to help me to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. The better I get at doing that, the better I will handle these ‘encounters’.
Maybe He will even turn some of these encounters into opportunities.
Do you have an example – good or bad – of how you’ve reacted to someone who wasn’t treating you the way you felt you should? What would be written on your “Hello, my name is” sticker?
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col 3:17