Anyway, the guy who leads that portion of our gathering suggested a few weeks ago that we start each day by prayerfully asking God to open our eyes and give us an awareness of where the Spirit is leading us (or something like that). So Jane and I have been trying to do that - and not just in the morning, but throughout the day.
So... last night we were at our usual spot. It's a place we have been frequenting for several years now. It was an intentional effort to go where some not-necessarily-Christian people hang out so we could build relationships and get a feel for the "real world." We have actually made some really good friends, and it does seem somewhat worthwhile every now and then.
Well, last night we were sitting there at the bar, and this guy came in and sat down at the other end. I noticed him right away. He was a big guy, a little older than me, had an Irish look to him, looked a little dirty and not just a tad bit ornery. Anyway, he ordered some food and right away looks at us and asks if we want any. Uh... I don't know why; especially when there were a bunch of other people there. Then he gets his stuff and asks if he can come sit by us. Unfortunately the only open seat was beside Jane. So he starts jabbering away and we are both immediately thinking "How in the world can we get away from this jerk?" And I don't know if he was drunk or not, really... but he was somethin'. Anyway, it wasn't long before he asked what we did; and, like most people, when he heard me say I pastor a church he got this 'look' on his face. And also like so many people, even though he said he's not really religious at all, he sure seemed to think he knew all about it and knew exactly what I should and should not do as a pastor.
So we sat there and listened to him jabber on and on... and it finally hit me: This is an answer to prayer. I tried to muster a "thanks, God" under my breath; but it wasn't very sincere. But it did put a whole new perspective on the conversation. Not that either Jane or I tried to steer it one way or another, but that we tried to listen more intently; tried to seem more interested; tried to care a little more. Honestly, the guy was not that enjoyable to listen to. But, if what he told us was true, he spends pretty much his entire life traveling on the road. So I'm sure it meant something just to have someone to chat with.
So... He says he's coming to church tomorrow. I won't hold my breath, but... you never know. He also paid our bill for the evening. I'm tempted to say that made it worth it... But that's being pretty inconsiderate of God, I think. I actually feel pretty blessed that God placed us in that situation; and that I have a wife who was there "with" me, not just there tolerating the event. So I will continue to ask God to open my/our eyes and help me/us see where He is at work and where I/we can be involved.