Yes, Pastor John and Amy bought a coffee shop! The usual response is – Congratulations! Why did you do that? There is excitement, but there is also a certain confusion. Why would a pastor buy a coffee shop? For our devotional thought this week, let me answer that question in three ways.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10 –
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31
This is what we long to do. We long to glorify God in everything we do. Since we feel led to invest in our community in this new way, glorifying God is what we will seek to do. A shop on the square will let us glorify God by supporting the other community members around us. By doing the best job we can, we can glorify God by being an asset to the community. We will also seek to glorify God by being ambassadors for Jesus while serving the community in this new way.
In the context of 1 Corinthians 10, Paul was talking about the difference between what was forbidden and what truly blesses us. What made it a blessing? The things that truly bless are the things that are done for the glory of God. So, this new endeavor will be one which seeks to glorify God. In quality coffee, in quality service, and in great conversations we will strive for Jesus to be glorified.
Be a light
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16
I (John) challenge our people to be light in their personal world all the time. I’m a preacher. It’s what we do. Although I get to do that on Sundays and Wednesdays through our services, I hear Jesus’ words about having our light under a basket and it challenges me to be in my community as well as in my church. Yes, I can do that through getting involved in a community group or volunteering in some way. However, as God closed some of those doors this year, the open door to this way to be a light kept opening up. I was left with this question: Do I put my light under a bushel while I wait for the world’s circumstances to change, or do I walk through the opportunities that God puts before me? I want that light to shine. So, here we walk.
There is something about challenging God’s people to do something (be a light) that makes me ask this question: How will they know how to do that unless they see it being done? This, too, is being a light. So, if I am going to talk about being a light in family life, work life, and community life, then I want to live it out with my people. I can’t live in an ivory tower dispensing wisdom from on high. I must live out what I am preaching in a very real way. If I can do that in the community, all the better!
Be in the community
This isn’t a career change. It is an extension of who we are as believers and as a pastor’s family. Pastors are not just ‘wide-eyed’ idealists. That type of idealist is not who we are, and mere idealism is not what the truth of God is. The truth of God (to put it simply) isa different set of values that determine what is important in your life. It is a different way of thinking about this life. The truth of God is a centering of our life around Jesus and making what is important to Him grow in importance to us. Since it is a different set of values, our culture doesn’t reinforce such thinking. This makes me think – if anyone is going to see what that means in everyday life, it has to be lived out in front of them. Pastors don’t have to just be people who tell others how to make Jesus important in their lives. Pastors also can show it. Living life for Jesus is essential. It’s what I preach. It must be what I live. Finding ways to take Jesus further into my community is a clear next step.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.2 Corinthians 5:20
All Christians are ambassadors. The desire to reach out and see the people in our community come to know the transformed life found in Jesus must be our heart. As Amy and I have prayed about that in our own ministry, we have become convinced that ambassadors live in and are active in the country in which they are stationed. So, that is what we long to do – to live in and be active in my community so that we can be ambassadors for Jesus. We want to appeal to the people in our community to be reconciled to God. This is the door that God has opened up for us to love people more in the name of Jesus. How could we not walk through it?
The coffee shop is a new opportunity to shine for Jesus in love of others. There, we can provide a listening ear, get to know and support fellow believers, and have an open door to minister and share in the center of our community. Here is my question today: in what way are you seeking to glorify God and reach out in the name of Jesus? What doors are open to you? Will you go through them? It is so easy right now to see the doors that are closed to us. However, we must be always looking for the doors that are open. When we find them, we must go through. That has always been the path of faith. Through what doors will you go for Jesus?
Something to think about,