You never know when God’s Holy Spirit will move. You never know who it will move through. It might be the person you least expect in a place you’d least expect. Or it could definitely happen inside the church walls. Either way, you need to be ready to follow the Lord’s moving. That means being aware (not distracted by your own plans), being open to working with “strange” people, and being willing to step up.
Here’s a good example from an article called “Church in the Checkout Line”:
I began to overhear a conversation going on at the checkout counter. In front of me in line was a Caucasian young man, probably in his early 20s, wearing a tank top, jeans and combat boots. He had an impressive array of tattoos and piercings and looked pretty rough around the edges. He was talking intensely to the checker, an African-American woman in her mid-60s, impeccably made up and about as respectable-looking as they come.
I took notice when the young man asked the woman how she was doing. It didn’t sound like an offhand “How’s it going?” but seemed that he really wanted to know. To my surprise the woman behind the counter teared up and began to give him a pretty detailed report on a tough situation in her marriage, all the while scanning and bagging groceries.
The young man listened and nodded, asking thoughtful questions and reaching out to pat the woman’s arm when her story got too hard to tell. When she choked up and had to stop scanning groceries, he pulled out a Kleenex to offer her as he stepped behind the counter and enfolded her in a hug. They stood there for a few moments, while he patted her back and she cried.
After a few moments, the woman managed to pull herself together, finish the grocery order and send the young man on his way. “You take care,” he said as he left. “I’ll be thinking about you.”
She must have seen the stunned look on my face as I stepped up next with my grocery order, because the woman looked at me and explained: “We’ve been friends for a while. He always comes through my line. Last year he was having a hard time and he would come in and tell me his troubles. He’s here for me now because I have some tough things going on in my life.”
I nodded as she spoke, and after I finished paying for my groceries and turned to leave, she said: “You know, we have to be here for each other. That’s what life’s all about. You have a good day.”
That story should make us ask a funny but holy serious question, “How can God use me in the checkout line?” Or anywhere else, for that matter.
And the story’s a good reminder that people–everybody–needs spiritual and emotional support in their life. Needs another person or group that says, “We care about you” no matter how they’re dressed or what color they are. And that is what the church should be.
The article ends by saying that many people don’t think they need church, because their idea of “church” is of a not-good place. But people do need real church–a place where they can feel loved by others and by God. Let’s make sure Hickory Rock is a place like that!