A national restaurant I frequent has begun to lose customers. A new manager was brought in to help. I learned his name, asked how he was doing and how the work was going. He told me. I prayed and I cared. Recently, I stopped by to eat. He came to my table and told me the night manager had forgotten to order cash for the day, so they were turning away customers. I had cash at home in smaller bills, and offered it to him. He accepted. When I delivered it, knowing I’m a pastor, he said, “I’ve never really given God a chance, but tonight I’m going to thank him for you.”
This wouldn’t have happened a handful of years ago. For far too many years I’d allowed my faith to be inwardly focused on my relationship with Jesus and my relationships in the Covenant family. I was missing the people all around me who don’t know Jesus.
God began to stir and I began to pray and read.
I determined to read only the gospels for my devotional time. Jesus, I discovered, was always noticing people. He noticed the crowds “…were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He noticed Zacchaeus in a tree. He noticed the widow of Nain as she mourned her now-dead son. He had eyes for people. We know he prayed. He also noticed, cared, and acted. It was part of his lifestyle. By God’s grace, my lifestyle changed. I began to notice people around me.
Consider your lifestyle. Which direction is your faith directed?
Pray, notice, care, and see if it opens the way to share. Get out, mix it up, and have some faith-stretching fun! This summer we’re challenging you to do just that. Not sure where to begin? Check out the Summer Challenge steps (see below), and decide which is right for you.
We’re here to provide help and support – from ideas, to conversation starters and even help with the cost (if needed).
Our kick-off to the Summer Challenge starts with a seminar by Lon Allison on Saturday, May 19, 9:00am - noon at Covenant. Lon was the leader of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton. He has spent his life helping the church see that evangelism is about Praying, Caring, and, as the relationship is built, Sharing.
Remember that restaurant manager? He’s back at his restaurant in Illinois. Before he left, I met with him twice and was able to ask him questions about his experience with God and the church. We had some amazing and brief conversations. He’s open to exploring the faith via text. He says he’s going to begin reading John’s gospel asking the question I gave him: “If this is true, what does it mean for me and how I live my life?”
I did just a few things: I prayed. I noticed and cared. I gained the opportunity to introduce Jesus. Faithfulness is that simple.