She held out a tiny sample to me; I took it and rubbed the delightfully-scented moisturizer on my dry skin and it went on like silk. Mmmhmm. She drew me in with that tiny sample and proceeded to try to sell me the product.
She was beautiful. Her curls were gorgeous, her smile gregarious and welcoming. Her accent was intriguing. When I asked where she was from, she said “Oh, because of my stupid accent?” I told her that it was a beautiful accent because it was. I stood there a good 10 minutes as she continued her (highly convincing) sales pitch. I was almost convinced. Until I remembered that my bank account these days stands deep in the red. (I’m on a spending fast, not because of some highly spiritual reason (like the present season of Lent), but just, well… necessity.)
As she talked with me and tried to learn more about me (like where I work, so that I could invite all my work friends to her stall in the mall *grin*) she was so delightful. Really. I could have been annoyed that she was trying to sell me something. But I wasn’t. As the minutes ticked by, and I glanced over at the faces of my patiently waiting (what? what kind of grace is that, Lord?) children, I became more and more uncomfortable.
Finally, I knew I just had to be firm and say no. She pressed for explanations – was it the product? what would entice me to buy it? – and I couldn’t offer her any.
She looked at me and then said, “You have such a positive energy! Most customers are like…” and here she began to imitate grumpy customers.
In that split second moment, I realized that this was a very beautiful set-up, a wide open door. I gathered my courage and I stepped through.
“I think it’s because I have Jesus inside”, putting my hand to my chest.
“Oh!”, she says, “you believe in that way? Well, keep doing what you’re doing!”
“It’s not what I’m doing… it’s more what He is doing.” I answered.
I cling to this verse: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Gal.2:20)
And this was a confirmation of that Truth. She noticed something different about me. And I had done nothing but engage with her while she threw me a sales pitch.
The kids and I moved on. In my heart I was praising and thanking God for the opportunity to mention the name of Jesus in a place that serves as a temple of worship to the god of materialism. I was thankful that I had mentioned the name of the One who loves all of us immensely and extravagantly and, surprisingly, I didn’t even need to swallow a lump of fear in my throat before doing it. It seemed very natural.
The other lesson I learned is that God will provide doors for us to walk through. I have been in a place of frustration, wanting to do more so that others around might know about Jesus and his amazing promises for our lives. Yet, the more I push for opportunity, the more frustrated I become. God, I think, gently showed me in this example that I am to be who I am, focussed on Him and his love. And in that way, doors will open. I will not have to force them open; as I walk closely with Him, I will be able to show others who Christ is. Because He lives in me! And it doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be a small seed that we sow in our everyday encounters. God is the one who causes the seeds to be watered and grow. Perhaps God will ask you to help water and grow a seed. But until then, keep sowing the small seeds. You never know when one of them will grow into a huge oak tree. Our job is to sow seeds. It is God’s job to make them grow. Praise God for that grace!
And like her amazing hand cream that went on like silk and smelled incredible, I pray that I might continue to exude the scent of Christ to those around me. I pray that we who carry Christ within would be known for our love and our peace, our patience, gentleness, and kindness.
Engage. Be open. Be brave enough to walk through that open door if there is one.
Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation – an aroma redolent with life. (2 Cor.2:15 The Msg)