Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And the Lord Provided (Part 2)

 (submitted by Kerry Patton)
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” II Timothy 4:2

A Platform from Which to Preach
As a teenager, I had resisted the call into the ministry.  Then, when I answered that call, I was certain that it would NOT be preaching, but decided that music would serve as the medium for the Message I would share.  Looking back, I realize how narrow my vision was.  I was to communicate the Gospel…and do so by whatever means I could, and use whatever opportunity God laid in my path. 

Upon graduating from college in 1989, I had not moved on to seminary, but found myself in College Station, Texas.  I had been offered a staff position at a local church, but I elected to experience the church from the perspective of the laity.  So there I was, at least gainfully employed by Radio Shack.  I wasn’t the preacher now.  I was selling batteries, computers, and radios; CB’s and radio controlled cars.  It seemed I was taking a break from the ministry…or was I?

Bryan/College Station, Texas are together a blended community of traditional Texas folk and the infused cultures of students who come from all over the world to attend Texas A&M University.  On a daily basis, persons would enter the door of that humble little Radio Shack on Villa Maria drive and God would open doors for me to communicate his love, mercy, and grace.  Here are two quick examples:

A gentleman came in one day to get some batteries.  As I rang up the sale, he began to cry. Asking him what was wrong, he confided that his wife of many years had passed away that week and he did not know what he was going to do.  There at the sales counter, I counseled him briefly and prayed with him. 

Another man, of Eastern origin and Hindu faith, entered the store one day terribly disturbed because on the day before he had returned an electrical component that today he realized was defective.  He was desperate to buy the defective part back for fear that to not do so would bring him bad karma and effect his reincarnation in the next life.  I helped him locate the part he had returned, resold it back to him, and then walked him outside, using the opportunity to speak to him about the saving Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bloom Where You Are Planted
Looking back, I reflect on the numerous times, the multiple opportunities that God laid in my lap to touch lives in the real world…to meet them at the point of their pain.  These were divine appointments set up by Almighty God which allowed me to not merely proclaim the Gospel, but to actively participate in it.  Those two years that I worked for Radio Shack allowed me to bring the Gospel out of the pulpit and deliver it in real time over the glass top of a Radio Sales counter.

So, the question is: Who is God bringing to your sales counter today?  At your job…at Wal-Mart…at the grocery store…at the city park, you are surrounded by individuals whom God has placed directly in your path for you to intersect with.  Will you take advantage of the timing?  Or will you step aside and allow them to pass unnoticed, unaffected, untouched, and unconcerned.  A minister from the 18th century wisely observed that “The world is your pulpit.  Proclaim the Gospel.”  Go therefore and do likewise.

Almighty God, how pleasant are the surprises you lay in our paths. We are relatively sure that we have you figured out; that we know how we will serve you today.  Then you open a door and lead us into places we’ve never gone before.  Open our eyes and ears, O Lord, and help us to see the pulpits you have placed in front of us, as well as the message for the ears that listen.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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