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Posts Tagged ‘Colossians 4:6’

Jo 23It is so true that, just when we might least expect it, an opportunity can present itself to say a gentle word in season that someone needs to hear.

A few weeks ago, my husband was waiting for our order at a local pizza shop on a Friday night. He noticed a man nearby sitting forward with his head in his hands.

‘Glad the week’s over, are you?’ my husband commented.

They went on to exchange a few pleasantries.

‘Tell me, how you cope with stress in your life?’ the man then asked, out of the blue.

‘Well, it helps me to know I’m doing what God wants me to do,’ my husband replied.

They chatted on for a while. It turned out the man was from Rumania and works in IT. And soon he discovered my husband is a retired minister.

‘My uncle was a sort of minister in a Pentecostal church back in Rumania—I used to go to church then,’ he admitted. ‘Tell me … how do you see the Holy Spirit manifesting himself today?’

Not quite the sort of question one expects to be asked in a pizza shop! Nevertheless, my husband happily responded. Then our pizza was ready and the man thanked him sincerely for their conversation. Only God knows what might ensue in his life as a result.

But this past week, it was my turn. As I waited to have an x-ray at the hospital, I glanced at the other people around me and decided to pray for them. I particularly noticed an elderly couple sitting nearby who seemed quite nervous. They got up several times, once returning with a form to fill out, which they seemed to have trouble doing. The wife tried to help her husband, speaking to him in a language I did not understand and several times reaching in her handbag to find this or that document. Eventually his name was called and off he went. I looked across at his wife and smiled. She smiled in return and then began talking.

‘I’m so worried!’ she told me, a perfect stranger, as she started to cry. ‘My husband … he not well. He got cancer.’

I reached over and held her hand, then moved to sit beside her. Out came her story of migrating to Australia from Italy in the fifties, starting work at fourteen, missing her homeland, marrying a man from her own village, having children. I listened—and my heart went out to her. Then my name was called and I had to leave her.

When my x-ray was over, however, I saw she was still waiting and went over to her.

‘I’m going to be praying for you,’ I told her. ‘I believe in God—God will look after you.’

‘I believe in God too,’ she whispered, as she clung to my hand and the tears began falling again. ‘Thank you so very much!’

In Col 4:6, Paul writes:

Let you conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

What a privilege to be able to take part in these two entirely unexpected conversations! I hope they were grace-filled enough. I hope these two needy ones sensed God’s love reaching out to them, bringing refreshment and comfort. That’s what it’s all about, don’t you think?

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Have you ever looked forward to having some ‘down time’ in a coffee shop by yourself, perhaps reading a favourite book or just chilling out? On a recent visit to a coffee shop, I saw someone doing exactly that—or trying to. The only trouble was he was sitting near a table where two women were talking animatedly. And I was one of those two women!

It happened like this. My friend and I had not seen each other for some time and were looking forward to catching up. She arrived at the coffee shop first and found a table in as private a spot as possible. As I joined her, I noticed a girl sitting in a nearby lounge and hoped our talking would not annoy her. I then bought our coffee and soon became immersed in the conversation with my friend.

We talked … and talked … and talked! At one stage, I remember noticing the girl near us leave and another person take her place—this time a youngish man. Again, I hoped we would not disturb him, but he soon seemed happily immersed in reading a book and drinking his coffee. So we continued talking … on and on and on … for over two hours all up!

After some time, the man stood up to leave. But as he did, he turned to us and smiled. I apologised in case we had been disturbing him but he shook his head.

‘No, no—I should be the one apologising!’ he quickly told us. ‘I probably shouldn’t have been eavesdropping. I could easily have just sat and read, but I was interested in what you were saying!’

At that point, my mind did a huge back flip. What sorts of things had we talked about? I was sure we hadn’t put anyone else down or gossiped or anything. But our conversation had ranged over a variety of subjects—from books we had read to thoughts about living the Christian life and being part of a church and many other similar topics. And I had shared quite a bit about my writing journey and the current opportunities I had to speak at different places. What could this man have possibly made of it all?

‘I just want to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing and keep going—that’s wonderful!’ he went on then. ‘In fact, there’s a really good women’s conference starting soon near here. I’m even prepared to pay or you to go! I’ll give you my email address so you can contact me.’

We sat stunned. He duly wrote down his contact details and as he did, we checked if he meant the ‘Colour’ conference conducted by Hillsong, which he did. He then left, still showing his appreciation for what he had overheard.

I was impressed. What a gracious eavesdropper! But this event also made me think. What if our conversation hadn’t been honouring to God and others? What a disservice we would have done to the kingdom! And what if this man hadn’t bothered to take a risk and speak to us? I would have missed out on so much encouragement. How right Paul is when he says in Colossians 4:6:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

So … when you next go out for coffee with someone …

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