‘Must be the manager who’s taking orders,’ I thought, in response to the rich male voice that confidently thanked me and told me the price of my order. I drove forward to the drive-up window, automatically held out my card and knew I was looking at the owner of the voice as soon as he very pleasantly said, “Hello!”
As I handed him my card, I thought, ‘He can’t be the manager’! I continued to watch him through the window as he took another order, all the while smiling. He was very tall and slightly awkward, as if he wasn’t quite comfortable in the obviously new uniform he was wearing; and he had a huge smile–not at all the sort of person I was expecting. At once, I was ashamed of myself for so quickly passing judgment on the young man, who obviously was manager material even if he didn’t look like it.
A rush of questions entered my mind. Was he still in school? How did he become so well spoken? Was he doing anything with that voice? Did he try out for school plays? Did he get passed over for leading roles? Were his parents proud of him?
I smiled as the window opened and he handed me my card and receipt. And then, picking up the bag as if it held a gourmet dinner, he said in that deep baritone voice, “And here’s your order. I hope you enjoy it!”
His smile was genuine, as he made eye contact, and I saw the boy/man and knew what I should say. “You have a lovely voice and such a nice manner. I just wanted you to know I appreciate it,” I said.
Obviously taken aback, he put his hands to his heart and said, “Oh, thank you. You’ve made my day!” He just stood there smiling as I pulled away, and I thanked God for the opportunity to give him what God knew he needed, affirmation.
On the way home, I thought about the Great Commission, how Jesus said we were to go into all the world and tell people about Him and teach them to follow Him. The command that Jesus left us with isn’t about saving ourselves for some huge, evangelistic effort in the future but is about going out into our own world and spreading the Love of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet.
It’s about seeing through the eyes of Jesus the man behind the Quik Mart counter, the teenager corralling the carts at WalMart, the mom with three grumpy kids at the grocery. It’s about acknowledging the silent frustration of the mother whose child won’t be quieted on the plane, the pain of the co-worker who confides his wife has left him, or the courtesy of an awkward young man at the drive-up.
It’s about caring… and connection. It’s about making an effort to just be Jesus to the person who needs you to be kind, or say ‘well done’ or ‘I remember how hard it was to shop with my kids.’ And if we have no words, it’s about lifting harried mothers and broken-hearted husbands to the Father, asking Him to comfort them and meet their needs.
I have a feeling we would just be dumbstruck at the number of opportunities to make a difference for the Kingdom of God that we miss each day. And why? Three reasons immediately come to mind: (1) we’re too self-obsessed with what’s happening in our own lives to recognize an opportunity when we’re given one; (2) we’re too concerned about what someone might think; or, God forbid, (3) we simply don’t care.
If you’re a Christ-follower, you may think it doesn’t matter whether Jesus is coming sooner or later, because you’re good, you’re in! But it does matter, because you have a responsibility to God to fulfill the Great Commission. If you’re too busy, too distracted, too tired, too selfish, or too scared to make waves, you might want to rethink your relationship with Christ, starting with this question, ‘Do I have one?’
Being a good person isn’t going to cut it–for you or your friends and family. Being baptized/confirmed/dedicated or going to church every Sunday isn’t enough; and, likewise, living in a ‘Christian’ nation or being a part of a ‘Christian’ family will not guarantee you eternity in Heaven. The only thing that will is trusting God for your salvation.
If you’ve never made a decision for Christ, here’s a simple prayer you can pray. “Father, I know I’ve sinned against You and deserve punishment, but Jesus took the punishment for me when He died on the cross. I ask You to forgive me, and I put my trust in You for my salvation. Thank you for forgiving me and accepting me as Your Child.” Amen
The Great Commission, as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, is one of the most recognizable portions of scripture.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It’s essentially the marching orders of the true Church, comprised of people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and have made Him the Lord of their lives. It’s not a suggestion but a commandment that Jesus gave to every person–not just pastors and ministers, priests and missionaries–but everyone who would follow Him.
Just as Jesus revealed God to us, we are to reveal God to others because we have Jesus in us. We are to become more like Christ every day, and the way we do that is by reading His Word and obeying it. We are God’s possession–He created us and He owns us. We are to be His witnesses and the testimony of who He is.
It’s pretty obvious that the Enemy of our souls is working overtime these days. He wants to take as many people with him, because he knows his days on this earth are numbered. Unfortunately, the Enemy pretty much has free rein in society today, even in the Church where the power of the Gospel is being replaced by political correctness. Not offending anyone’s beliefs for fear they won’t come back has become the unwritten policy of a growing number of churches, who want to be known as inclusive in order to keep the church doors open on Sunday morning.
It is the Truth that sets one free to be the person God created him or her to be. And if we don’t speak the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not only in our places of worship but in our daily lives, who will?
I’m on my way to Heaven, and I want to take as many people with me as I can. God has commissioned every believer to do just that. Will you? Listen to this paraphrase of the Great Commission from The Message:
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Are you in?