Wow, this has been a good but busy week on the campus of Southwestern. We had the Expository Preaching Conference and I had my Doctor of Ministry cohort on campus for the conference and some time to meet with me to discuss their assignments and transition into the prospectus/dissertation stage of their studies.
I like to take my classes to a meal in our home or to a local restaurant and with this class being just three doctoral students we went off to a local restaurant. Our waitress was a pleasant young lady who came and took our order. She returned a little while later with our salads, and we let her know that we were followers of Jesus and were going to ask the Lord to bless our food. Then we asked if there was anything we could pray about on her behalf. She immediately responded with genuine gratitude and asked that we pray for her family. We prayed for her family and begin to enjoy our meal. A few minutes later a waitress came out and asked if we were the table that had prayed for our waitress. She exclaimed that she loved Jesus and that was so encouraging to her. She shared that she was praying for Jesus to move in the hearts and lives of co-workers and people that come into the restaurant. We completed our meal and got ready to leave when our waitress told us to have a good day our bill had already been paid. We were astonished and greatly surprised. We thanked our server and left back toward the seminary.
I had to stop by the bank to make a deposit and while I was standing at the ATM I came under incredible conviction. Why do I ask servers if I could pray for them? So that we might have opportunity to share the life changing message of the Gospel! I had gotten so wrapped up in the meal, fellowship, and then the blessing we had received that I had missed an EASY opportunity to share with our original server about knowing Christ. I tried to convince myself that she was a believer based on her gratitude and sweet spirit. The conviction only grew stronger and I had to get back in the car and go back to the restaurant and speak to our waitress. The waitress came up front and I explained to her that my desire is to be a blessing to those who serve me, but it surprised me when that blessing was turned back around. I then explained that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share of Jesus and make sure that she was a believer. It happens that this young lady is already our sister in Christ, but we were able to be a great encouragement to each other, and other believers around us.
I got back to the seminary in time to teach an early afternoon class and I shared the story of my blessing and conviction with my class. One of my students rejoiced in the story and shared that he had just met a neighbor the night before who works at this same restaurant and prays to use our encounter as an entry way to share the gospel with him.
Here are some things I take away from today’s experience. First, taking the time to ask a simple spiritual question can make a great impact. It cost me little to nothing to ask our server if we could just pray for any need in her life. Second, we have to be intentional and undistracted in taking opportunities to share. I got so distracted by my fellowship and then blessing, I neglected to be intentional to seek out the spiritual well-being of our original server. Third, I am grateful for the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God when I am not obedient to share. I have rarely felt the level of conviction to share in the way I did today standing at that ATM making my deposit. I pray that God would grant even greater sensitivity concerning divine appointments to share the Gospel, or better yet boldness just to make appointments! Finally, I rejoice that our God is at work in the life of seminary professors, students, restaurant servers, apartment ministries, and countless other vocations and lives in order to spread His glorious message of forgiveness, justification, and redemption!
Oh that we would diligently share the good news and encourage one another in the good news. Jesus saves!