There’s a morning routine at our house that is good for everyone involved. Our two granddaughters live with us and go to a great public school nearby. It is my distinct privilege to take them to school most every morning, and sometimes pick them up in the afternoon. This has been going on for several years, and the girls love “Pappy” to be involved in their lives like that.
A little over a month ago, I had just come home from a hospital visit when one of the pastors in my Pastoral Covenant Group called to ask if I would ride with him for a visit. One of the pastors was in our group was having some tests run, and we were going to visit. Naturally, I said we would go, so he came by and picked me up. The pastors in our group really care about each other, and have been building our covenant relationship for several years.
On the way to the hospital, we stopped at a particular gas station that has quite a large variety of coffee to choose from. Normally, when I drink coffee, it’s black with just a little black thrown in for good measure. This time, however, the Pumpkin Spice called pretty loudly, and I was hooked. Filling my stainless steel travel cup for $1.06 (including tax) felt pretty good, and was greatly appreciated seeing how my friend paid for it.
In the days following, I had to visit that gas station again … again … again. One morning, after dropping the girls off at school, I decided a cup of coffee would hit the spot, so off I went. This time I was greeted by a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant (still teaching, BTW) and some other guys of like ilk. It wasn’t long until we had introduced ourselves, and a friendship began to grow. We see each other pretty regularly now, as that stainless steel coffee cup needs to be refilled from time to time.
We talk about a variety of subjects, but one of them really catches my interest. You see, there are Florida Gator fans, and some stealth Florida State University fans, too. The discussions are interesting, but never get out of hand. One of the guys wears an Auburn phone case, but his heart is purely Gator. One of his daughters went to school there, so I can understand the display of the Auburn symbol. Now, the FS-who? guys are an altogether different matter.
In the last couple of visits, I have seen something new take place in this small coffee club. Now when I walk into the place, they say “you better be good, the preacher’s here.” I appreciate the sentiment, but I would rather them not have to say that in the first place. Today, for the first time, they said I was part of their club, and that made me feel good. I never asked, but just wanted to hang around them and share the love of Christ while sipping on a cup of coffee. We all have fun and sometime I get to answer questions of eternal importance – how awesome is that?
I love to read about the Apostle Paul. This man knew what it was to present Christ to those who wouldn’t listen, and to those who received his message. He knew what it was like to be beaten, mocked, snake-bitten, left for dead and how to walk in faith. One of my favorite scriptures is what Paul wrote regarding his witness to those who needed Christ:
I Corinthians 9:22-23 ESV
22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
There is a wonderful book written by our General Overseer, Dr. Raymond Culpepper, entitled No Church Left Behind, which uses an acrostic for a G.R.E.A.T. church. One of the letters represents a relational church, and is part of what makes a church relevant in today’s society. Relationships are built over a period of time; they are not always instant successes. Followers of Christ must develop relationships if we are going to be a positive influence in the world we live in.
What about you? Are you building relationships in your “coffee club?” Tell me about them.