Highland Baptist Church
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Helping People Follow Jesus
Late one night, my family and I were headed home from Fort Worth. About midnight, we pulled off the interstate and into the Exxon station in Itasca. My son and I went in. Ours was the only car at the convenience store, and my son and I and the lone store clerk were the only ones in the store. While my son was in the rest room, I paid for coffee and a candy bar, then got to talking with the clerk.
As we spoke, the clerk told me she was attending a nearby community college and planned to finish there and then go to UT for her bachelors and then a masters in sports therapy. Suddenly in that moment, it seemed that the Lord really wanted to encourage her. I got a wave of great news for her and just went with it.
I told her that her plan was the right thing for her because she liked putting her hands on people and helping them be well again, and that she was made for this and would have a rewarding life in it.
She started smiling. It was like watching a flower unfold.
Then I asked her, "You know the Cinderella story? (She nodded yes.) Tell me this: Was Cinderella a scrub girl who became a princess, or a princess in rags?" (credit that question to Grady Nutt in his book, "Being Me".) She guessed correctly but didn't know why that answer was right, so I asked her the question this way: "Are you a store clerk who will later on be a sports medicine therapist, or are you now a sports medicine therapist who for the moment is working as a store clerk?" She got it - the latter is the case - then her face started brightening up even more.
Then I said, "You'll have many people, including family and even yourself at times, telling you, 'You'll never make it.' 'Forget it.' 'You'll never amount to anything' and so on. (She nodded yes, that was all true.) Don't listen to that. You now know who you are because the Lord Jesus has affirmed in you the desires of your heart - He put those desires there. You can stand on what He will do for you and what He has made you to do in the world. You are going to make it because the Lord has made you for this career. He will bring you great joy through this, and He will use you to help and bless many people. So every day along the way and once you reach your goal, remember who you are and give thanks to Jesus every day for it."
She was beaming from ear to ear and crying at the same time. She looked to be a foot taller when we left. The Lord did a wonderful thing in her. He affirmed her and released her into that dream she'd had. She was absolutely radiant from receiving His gift. That was fun for me too, giving away gifts of the Lord like that.
And weirdly, just as I finished speaking with her, there were six or seven people in the store, seemingly from out of nowhere. Neither the clerk nor I had any idea where they all came from or even when they came in. Had they been in the store before, I never would've been able to tell her what the Lord had for her.