One of the more frequent conversations that I have with sincere believers, and especially those who are seeking to serve God on a day to day basis is around the issue of ‘how do I initiate those connections’?
Although I’m very much a proponent of living life on purpose and planning our daily lives in order to fulfill our calling and destiny, I’m also very much aware that the Lord has “spontaneous connections” nearly every single dayfor which I’m to be prepared.
One does not need to go out and knock on doors or stop people in public places and share the gospel with them in order to have meaningful ministry moments. In fact, if anything, those approaches generally create as much confusion as they do revelation.
Rather, I find that if I pray every morning for God to keep me alert to those people that He’s bringing across my path that hardly a day goes by without some opportunity to make a significant contribution into the life of another person. (This is not a comment about any of my gifts or abilities, but it is a recognition that the Lord desires to use His people in their everyday, here and there, in and out lifestyles.)
In just the past few days I have had three such encounters. I received an email from a friend in another church who was having some serious difficulties in fulfilling their personal ministry role and wondered if I would be available to pray with them while they’re trying to sort out some things. What was born out of that exchange was an opportunity to pray but much more than than, to bring God’s word to light and to allow life giving ministry from the Spirit to be shared with that good friend and a number of her colleagues.
Just today I had another such encounter. I stopped to see a person that I visit on a monthly basis and knew within a minute of simply chatting that something very upsetting had taken place. As time went on I discovered that another employee had left the organization last week and done so in a way that was somewhat confusing and disappointing. This had caused a considerable amount of heartache for my friend and opened the door for me to share some of the more personal and hopeful scriptures that promise God’s presence in a time of difficulty and division. Later in the day when I forwarded on some of these resources I received a very sincere word of appreciation and felt a personal sense of blessing that the Lord had heard my prayer for today and allowed me to be used in this very simple and non-dramatic fashion.
One final exchange took place when the Lord had me meet a young man who was representing a service company that was offering a new level of insect and pest control. As we talked about the service the company provided we also talked a bit about how he was in this job and it wasn’t long before it became clear that he was a believer that was preparing for his final year of college before heading into the ministry. It wasn’t a difficult transition to talk about my journey from college through the Marine Corps and ultimately into full time ministry and I could see that the common experiences that we’d had in our college years provided great encouragement for him to believe that the Lord would lead his steps as he moved forward.
So what I’m saying in these three simple vignettes from my own life is that I believe that every day God brings people across our path who need either a listening ear or a sensitive word of encouragement from the Lord. It may be more profound than that but in my experience that’s where profound things begin… with just a willingness to be used by God in every situation.
Being prepared for the spontaneous is simply a matter of sensitivity. When you don’t make every conversation about yourself and you’re listening to what the Lord is saying, He will use you in ways that are meaningful to others and a great blessing to you. It’s part of being a Kingdom person!
P.S. If you have a recent illustration of being used by the Lord in response to a prompting of His Spirit, I would very much enjoy reading about it..!