Today I have a really cool story to tell you about something that happened to me very recently. And you might even tear up ….. because I did, and I hardly ever do.
Last night we had a dessert gathering for the table captains for our upcoming Patrick Henry Family Services gala in April. We were at the Neighbors Place, a local restaurant, and we had a side room that was packed with people. It was my job to describe to them what they could expect at the gala and what their responsibilities were as table captains. I was gearing everything I said to middle and upper class church people.
I explained that they would be hearing three stories of people who had been helped by our various programs. I was explaining to them that one of the stories would be from a Safe Family host family and the mom of the baby they had hosted. I then said something like this:
“One of our goals at PHFS is to connect the church with people who are marginalized so that they can rid themselves of generalizations. If you develop a meaningful relationship with a recovering addict, for example, you can no longer say ‘All addicts are bad people’ because you have met one who wasn’t. Or if a felon becomes your friend, you can’t fear all felons, because now you know one who isn’t frightening at all. And somehow the people that we have a church work to avoid — the people that Jesus actually hung out with when he was on earth — become a part of our lives and everything changes.”
I continued on with my speech, getting a few laughs and seeing lots of enthusiasm, and Mr. Day closed the night in prayer. Then I talked to a few people in the room and I started to walk out to the car for my 90 minute drive home. A young woman approached me and I realized that she was one of the two servers that had been assigned to our room.
She came up to me and said just a few short sentences. “I just wanted to thank you for all that you guys are doing. I work three jobs and I didn’t want to come in tonight. But I am a recovering addict and I am a felon, so I know now that God wanted me here tonight.” And then she reached up and gave me a big hug. I hugged her back and thanked her for taking time to share that with me.
I walked away from that experience so grateful that God uses us, used me even, in the most unlikely of situations. I had no idea this girl was still in the room when I was speaking and obviously knew nothing of her history. But God used a Gala Table Captain Instruction Speech, of all things, to remind a young tired struggling girl that He loves her.
Yesterday morning a coworker of mine sent out an amazing email that ended, in part, with these words. "It is not how much we do, but how small we can do, to touch a life and make a difference,” I had no idea she was being prophetic about my life that very night.
After reading that email, another coworker sent me this song that I never heard that so applies to this story and to all of as we seek do do what God is asking us to do each day.
Here are the lyrics.