A friend and me were recently discussing awkward situations where stepping out in faith was required and what it was like to “do something” by faith. He told the story of a time when he was working on food prep with a few others in a kitchen at a restaurant on a day that a co-worker was out sick.
The coworker who was out sick for the day was someone who had some issues – not a “normal” person, but someone who would often say the “wrong” thing, or speak inappropriately because she was socially awkward and had a background that was different that most.
He said as they stood there working, some of the other workers began to talk about her and her shortcomings, giving examples of things she’d done wrong or of things she had said that they found to worth making fun of and ridiculing. It was a “fun” gossipy, slandering, conversation.
My friend said that as it went on for a while, it was more irritating than anything and that, just for kicks, he decided to do something different. He spoke up and said, “Yeah, __________ does have a lot of problems. Let’s pray for her” and he bowed his head and prayed openly for the girl and her issues asking that God would help her “get better” and “do better” in life, etc.
It was one of those weird, split-second things where what started as a kind of a joke turned serious quickly and that everyone else, including him, took praying for the absent girl very seriously and with a sense of genuineness.
When he looked up as he wrapped up his prayer, everyone around the table had assumed a prayer posture – heads bowed, some with hands folded together – and were joining him in prayer and in concern for the odd girl who was absent.
After that moment, the conversation changed, people’s attitude changed, including my friends. He said that it was amazing how doing the right thing – praying for someone instead of talking about them in hurtful ways – actually had an powerful impact on everyone – on him, the absent girl and his coworkers.
I think sometimes we think that seeking God’s kingdom among us means something “bigger” and involves planning and money and a team and goals, when in reality it means taking God at his word and doing the normal, everyday good things that he puts in front of us to do.
That day had a powerful impact on my friend because he saw God at work in everyday life and it is a great reminder that we all have moments like that in which we can serve others in simple, real ways. Look for those places in your life where you can act, where you can speak and grow God’s kingdom.