By Ed Cyzewski
I had a pile of birthday cards, thank you notes, and some important business mail bundled up for the post office one morning. I forgot to swing by the post office in my hometown, so I dropped in at another one in the next town on my way to the café -- my favorite spot to write.
My mind was still clouded with work when I stepped up to the post office counter and noticed the clerk wasn't making eye contact with me. Her counterpart whispered into her ear, "He's on the phone with the hospital because he has chest pains." I saw the postmaster walking to the back room with the phone to his ear. The clerk in front of me glanced in my direction and told me all I needed to know through her eyes that bore the marks of fear, pain, and heartache. Tears crept out.
I passed along my envelopes, handed over exact change, and moved toward the door, wanting to give her some space. I stopped just shy of the door when I realized that I needed to pray for the postmaster and the two clerks. In fact, God brought me to that spot at that time to pray for safety and healing.
My prayer was made all the more urgent when an ambulance sped by with blaring sirens.
Just stopping to pray for this man made me realize something. God may have plans for my career, but that's no excuse to ignore the needs I see every day. While praying, I realized I was doing the most important thing in the world at that moment -- asking for God's loving touch on another person.
I'm shocked by how stingy I can be with blessings, to say nothing of how I overlook God's concern for the people I meet every day.
On days like this, I realize my default orientation is insular and self-serving. God is pushing his people outward, sending us out of our protective inner circles to those who are broken and in need.
A few days later, I stopped in the post office to find the postmaster standing at the counter. "The other day I heard you were having chest pains," I said while handing over a bin of mail. "How are you feeling?"
"Great. It was only a severe muscle spasm," he replied. "Thanks for asking."
"I want you to know that I felt a strong burden to pray for you that day," I said.
"Well, it sure worked. I really appreciate that," he replied.
The line behind me grew as we chatted, and so we left things at that. I don't visit that post office very often these days, but as I drive by I'm often reminded to continue praying for the good people working there.
I pray that we can continue to take these steps toward God's Kingdom as we go about our daily work each day.
Ed Cyzewski (M.Div. Biblical Theological Seminary) is the author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life and Saving Evangelicals from Themselves: Where We Fall Short, Why We Have Hope (Navpress, 2010). He blogs on theology at www.inamirrordimly.com and on writing at www.edcyz.com.
8/11/2009 4:00:00 AM