Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Shall We Gather At The River"1 (Lyrics)
1 Corinthians 3:7 – It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow. (NLT)
One of the most important and helpful pieces of advice that I have received is "Learn your coffee barista's name — and use it!" Let me explain.
I'm not a coffee addict, but I am a latte lover! Now that our local coffee shops are gradually starting to reopen, I find it once again very relaxing to sit and read a book as I enjoy my latte. I often combine this enjoyable ritual with a neighbourhood walk or a few errands before continuing on with the rest of my day.
In the past, I've found that one result of frequent visits to the same coffee shop is growing familiarity with the baristas. Baristas are often young, and the turnover rate can be high, but after a few weeks, they often begin to recognize me. They then also remember that I love a half-sweet cardamom latte with a scone. They may ask my name, and I ask theirs in return.
Then comes the payoff. Along with a greeting and a smile, I can also gradually begin to "say a little word for Jesus", as I've heard it expressed. (This need not — and should not — be a sermon, a theological debate, or even a long testimonial.) Melissa had been a social worker in Madagascar, so when I told her that my husband and I had served as missionaries there, I was also able to tell her a little of why we had gone there. Ashley is also a reader and often asks about the book under my arm. If it's a book with a spiritual topic, I can say a word or two about how such books help me to grow in my Christian life. I could tell Josh, a student at a local college, that I would be praying for him as he faced his finals. I can encourage Loretta, the hard-working owner of her coffee shop, by applauding the enhancements that I see her gradually making to her shop.
My purpose in developing these casual relationships with baristas (or my mail carrier, my car mechanic, my neighbour, etc.) is simply to plant a seed. I may not develop a deep or long-lasting relationship with many of these people, but my intersection with their lives can still have a lasting effect. The small seed that I drop into the soil of their heart may be watered later on by someone else who comes into their life. Perhaps they have a praying grandmother, a kind neighbour, or a godly co-worker who will help further their interest in God and His ways.
Ultimately, of course, it is God who makes the seed grow, but He will honour our seed-planting efforts.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for the people with whom we cross paths every day. May our words of wisdom and grace bear fruit as we show Your love through our daily words and actions. Amen.