40 Days of Prayer

Day 1: Ralph

January 1, 2019

My Image

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8


From Our “Here”…

We spent Christmas week in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with my wife’s family. Unexpectedly, my brother-in-law needed to replace the battery in both family vehicles the same weekend. He and I made the drive to the local Walmart Supercenter.

Waiting in line at the auto service counter, I listened to the gentleman at the cash register explain the warranty conditions on some tires to the customer in front of Bill and me. The attendant’s voice was rich and warm, transforming the recitation of an otherwise uninspiring product guarantee.

It wasn’t just the words he said. His interaction with the person he was serving spoke of a 24-hour-a-day commitment to treating others kindly.

I had to ask.

“Ralph,” I said as Bill and I approached the counter and I could read his nametag, “are you a retired minister?”

He smiled. “Why, yes, I am. How did you guess?”

“You’ve got the voice,” I told him. “My dad retired in 2006 from his church in Missouri.”
“Praise the Lord,” Ralph said with a smile.

“What church did you serve with?” I asked.

It turned out to be a branch of the Church of Christ in Ohio.

Bill bought the batteries for his minivans, and Ralph gave him his signature treatment.

When I think of Ralph, I do a little internal housekeeping. I’m not a minister, but I still represent Christ. Do I communicate His love and compassion when I interact with others, even in the mundane areas of life?

…To God’s “There”

Within his circle of influence, Ralph was obediently living out Christ’s Great Commission. Retirement, for him, did not mean shuffling off to some hidden corner once he gave up his pulpit. Each day was another opportunity to turn an auto service counter into an informal chapel.

Every day presents us with similar opportunities. As Acts 1:8 makes clear, God’s redemptive vision for our lost world encompasses “the ends of the earth” as well as our own “Jerusalem.”

The body of Christ, with each member uniquely and wonderfully gifted, is on a mission to proclaim our risen Savior to everyone. That includes the person next to us at Walmart as well as the person on the other side of the globe who might connect with a missionary we support — or whom God might call us to reach with the gospel as missionaries ourselves.

Making the Leap

God uses our life experiences and personal interactions to equip us to fulfill His Great Commission. Whether or not we have “Reverend” in front of our name, each of us has a mission to proclaim who Jesus is. When we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, we begin to understand the primary purpose of His presence and baptism is to give us the power to be His witnesses.

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