Good morning and welcome everyone to our church! I pray that you would be blessed as you worship, pray and fellowship today. Sometimes, we go to church or to events with our normal expectations, and God surprises us. I am sure when Zechariah went to the Temple, he did not expect the angel Gabriel to tell him that he would have a son, John the Baptist, in his old age (Luke 1:5-25)!
I believe in this truth: God always desires to bless those who seek to do God’s will (Deut. 11) in unexpected and unlooked for ways. One Sunday, I stopped by Starbucks on the way to church. At the sugar and cream counter, I was flapping my sugar packets prior to opening them when one flew from my fingers and plopped directly into a stranger’s beverage. This had never happened before, but there it was floating in his drink. We both stared at this unexpected development, and rather than plucking it out, we both stared as it slowly sunk out of sight like some white leviathan in creamy seas. I had to restrain myself from saying, “Call me Ishmael.”
Mortified, I immediately offered to buy a replacement drink for him, to which he graciously accepted. While waiting for his grande no foam, percent latte, he asked me why I was in a suit. I said, “Oh, I’m actually going to church.” He said, “Church? Oh, my girlfriend keeps harping on me to go to church with her. I don’t have time for that nonsense.”
Saying a quick prayer to God, I replied, “It sounds like your girlfriend considers church very important. And, she obviously thinks you are important. It makes sense that she wants to share with someone she deeply cares about, the most important beliefs in her life.” The stranger was about to make a quick reply, but stopped himself, and slowly nodded his head saying, “Yeah, yeah that makes sense.”
“What time is her church’s service?” I asked. He said, “I can make it if I leave now. She’s going to be super surprised. Thanks!” “No, thank you, and God bless you!” Do I know if he made it to church, I do not know, since that is in God’s hands.
This event seems so small, but most of our life’s encounters with people are like this. We pass by people everywhere, and in God, each potential meeting is an opportunity for God’s name to be glorified and the name of Jesus to be shared. Jesus encountered the disciples while they were fishing, tax collecting, and dispensing medical care to name a few. Normal encounters with extraordinary futures, because who knows what could happen when one seeks to do God’s will? May you have many normal encounters, amen.