Here is a link to my message Sunday morning.
I love coffee. I prefer gourmet coffee from a little family-owned roaster north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I don’t commonly have any on hand. Most mornings are not gormet mornings anyway, they are plain-vanilla, get-it-done days. They are MacDonald’s mornings. I usually drive through at the MacDonalds over on Sibley and Telegraph a few miles south of the church. I pick up a large, black, fresh coffee and a friendly word on the way to work.
I do it often enough that I am a familiar face to the workers there. I try to be warm and friendly to people who serve me. Making brief, drive-through conversation with the lady at the window one day, she asked me what kind of work I did. I told her that I pastored at the big brown brick church on the corner of Telegraph and Pennsylvania. I found out her name was Beth.
“You should come and hear me preach some day, Beth. You could meet my family.”
Whenever I returned I greeted her by name and every month or so I would renew my invitation for her to come to Evangel.
She said; “I might just do that some day.” A few weeks later she asked me what time the service started.
One Sunday morning I was standing in my usual place in the pew with the family. We were enjoying the worship songs when I saw movement to my right. I looked over and to my delight it was Beth. She didn’t see me. She slipped into a pew ahead of us and across the aisle to the right. I watched her–silently praying that the service would touch her heart.
I wondered if she felt welcome. She was alone. I wondered if the music would be meaningful to her. I hoped that she would stay long enough for people to be friendly to her.
During the singing I glanced over at her. Her face was turned up to the large screens overhead and tears were streaming down her face.
People are spiritual beings. Even people who don’t go to church much–even people who don’t talk about it all the time. Even the lady who sells you coffee at MacDonalds every morning. The idea is captured in an old song:
“Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.”
Beth attended Evangel for a few months. She brought her son with her some. Then she moved to Georgia. I miss her.
I believe her spirit was touched in a deep way while she was here. I believe God is still at work in her life. I believe God has many workers in Georgia and He knows where Beth is. I believe God was at work in here life before I met her. I Believe God is still at work in her life. And I believe there are Beth’s all around us if we will just take the time to notice.
They have feelings buried under the rubble of regret, guilt, and hurt but grace can restore them.
There must be Beth’s in each of our lives, don’t you think?
March 1, 2010