Have you ever been sure you were headed to the right place at the right time, only to arrive and know you were wrong? Nobody to blame, you just wrote the wrong time or wrong day. Last week, I arrived to serve with a team of folks from ACF at Lakeside Apartments, only to walk into to an empty room and realize I had the wrong day on my calendar. So I called Ronne, asked her if she knew what day we were supposed to serve. She didn’t know, but she’d been trying to connect with one of the residents and asked if I could help. I couldn’t say no, could I? I was scheduled to do something for the next couple of hours that wasn’t happening, so while initially frustrated, I realized…I was free. So, I went looking for Ronne’s friend, wound up talking with several of the ladies who work at Lakeside and some of the friends I’ve met over the last couple of years. It was fun, to be free and trying to find Ronne’s friend. I mentioned Ronne couldn’t make it to our Lakeside service in October because she’d be on a mission trip to Guatemala. Jean, one of the ladies I was speaking with, lit up and wanted to know what we do in Guatemala. Her sister adopted a Guatemalan child and she wanted to help…so I connected her with Ronne. When I left, I called Ronne and we laughed, knowing Jesus had plans for me, Ronne, Jean and who knows who or what else with the scheduled miss on my calendar. I was reminded that in trusting my life to Christ, I am truly not my own. I’m a servant, a slave who serves at the pleasure of my Master.
“You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT)
While being in the “wrong” place initially unnerved me, I realized I was exactly where Jesus wanted me to be. I looked around and thought, “You got anyone else You want me to talk to?” Right in front of me was Chris, a AC repair man, headed to the top of the Four Seasons to work on their AC units. I said hello and we started talking. Nice guy. Asked about his job, what he liked, if he was afraid of heights, how much time he spent on roofs downtown. He answered all my curious questions. Then, we said goodbye, wished each other a good day and I took off.
I was halfway down the little street next to Lakeside, when I felt the nudge. There’s something else. Turn around. So, I turned around and went back. I told Chris I intended to come down with our church and help, but I was here on the wrong day. Then, I came to the place in the conversation where I had to jump off the cliff, from a normal conversation to something weird. To be honest and fair with you, I had an advantage. Jumping into a weird conversation is a short trip for a guy on a powder blue scooter, mid-morning, on a weekday, downtown. But, I felt led by Jesus to turn around, so I told him I really didn’t believe in coincidence and knew there must be some reason we met. I asked him if there was anything going on in his life he was concerned about, that I might pray with him about. Chris immediately asked for me to pray about whether or not he should leave his job. He explained all of the circumstances that were troubling him and I prayed for him…out loud, downtown, on the street. I sensed he was a believer and not freaked out by my request. I think Jesus was using me to answer a desire Chris had to know if God cared about his job. Who knows? There was no blinding light, no conversion story, no baptism in Lady Bird Lake…but maybe Jesus was up to way more than I realized. I know this. He wanted me to pray with Chris. I did so. What happens next, is up to Jesus, not me.
As I drove off, I thought about my unscheduled encounters and my relationship with Jesus. If I am His, entirely His, why aren’t more of my days like this morning? Right now, in our city, Explore God has burst onto the scene, with billboards pushing the issue, believers all over our city praying for conversations to happen. The Church in Austin looks more The Bride of Christ than ever before. Why not be ready? Let’s look up and see what conversations Jesus is orchestrating for us to have with those around us.
“We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ Himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NLT)