She Sat in a Pew

They sat on a bus while she worshiped Jesus. 

They had traveled far and felt a need to relax. She had worked all day, every day, all week and yearned to join in a celebration of praise. She heartily sang those simple songs requiring little or no musical skill, losing herself in worship of her God. They saved their voices for the really uplifting singing that would come later . . . the catchy melodies, the poignant words, the amplified voices, the cacophony of their vocal symphony.

She underlined verses in her careworn Bible as she followed the message of the preacher, occasionally jotting notes to rethink later. They remained outside preparing themselves for their message in song, choosing not to be distracted by those who preceded their performance.

She applauded as they were introduced and was thrilled as they sang. She cheered; she laughed; she cried. They used their talents to lead her to a level of emotion she didn’t often experience in worship.

She spoke to them in the foyer. They autographed the shirt she purchased; guided her to their tapes; gave her a form to contribute to their ministry; then waited for the man who had their check.

When she and the others had gone they folded their money tables and repackaged their remaining tapes and shirts. As they drove away in their bus they compared inventory to collections and checked their maps. As she drove home she listened to their tapes and sang to Jesus.

* * * * * * * * *

He sat in an office while she worshipped Jesus.

He had traveled far and felt a need to relax. She’d spent a hectic weekend with a sick child and felt a need for spiritual renewal. She prayed and sang and caressed her worn Bible as one massaging the shoulders of an old friend. She warmly anticipated his advertised skill and hoped that he would make the Word come to life in her heart.

He sat in an office and contemplated his calendar as one reexamining his trophy wall. The undesirable appointments – those with too few people, too little prestige, or too little money – had been replaced with appointments appropriate to his status. He checked his outline and made an adjustment he thought might more powerfully impact this audience. He heard the singing, prayed quickly, and headed for the arena, tugging his cuffs and tightening his tie as he walked. He had worked with this worship leader before and knew he would prepare the audience well. They would be ready when it was time for the real spiritual uplifting he would bring.

She absorbed every word he said. She laughed; she cried; she learned more about Jesus. She praised God for giving such gifts to this teacher. His voice, his gestures, his understanding of the Word, and his stories intertwined into eloquence. He touched her heart and strengthened her spirit.

She shook his hand and thanked him for helping her. She asked if he might have a few moments to share her life and gain his counsel. He smiled with practiced affection and declined gracefully.

Inwardly he rejected the frustration of spending time with her, listening to those same old problems he used to hear in his early ministry. He now knew that wasn’t his gift. His gift is preaching and he couldn’t let this “problem person” take any of his focus from that gift. He’d be gone tomorrow, she needed someone local to talk to. Besides, arrangements had already been made to enjoy a pleasant meal with several of the prominent church members at the country club.

He lunched with dignitaries and forgot her name. She prayed for him and his ministry.

* * * * * * * * *

He stood at a booth while she worshipped Jesus.

He believed in his ministry and chose not to leave his booth for fear of missing latecomers. She had taken unpaid leave to attend this gathering and wanted all the spiritual good she could gain.

She browsed the booths during the breaks, buying and subscribing.

She studied the schedule, choosing her classes carefully, disappointedly longing for a way she could attend them all. She ordered more tapes than her budget allowed. She attended every celebration, giving her whole being to singing, praying, and listening.

She stopped by his booth, learned of his dedication to his cause, and became a participant in his ministry. He worked hard all day, visiting with the guardians of other booths when things were slow.

As the evening celebration started he knew the booth traffic would not reappear until morning. He straightened his display, loosened his tie, and headed for the restaurant. She looked for a seat; he looked for the door. His ministry was done for this day. God wouldn’t need him again until tomorrow. If anything exciting happened in the evening service, he would buy the tape. He appreciated workshops but his ministry got outside of buildings and really made things happen in people’s lives.

Exhausted but uplifted she left the last service of the last day of the workshop. She walked by his empty booth. He’d left when the crowds thinned. He had packed his ministry neatly into boxes and gone looking for the next market of ministry supporters. He had done well. The results were good and the trip was justified.

He gained a greater base for his ministry. She gained a greater knowledge of Jesus.

* * * * * * * * *

They sat on a bus visualizing how they would enthrall and enthuse their audience.

He sat in an office thinking of which illustration to close with to get the most response from his audience.

He stood at a booth figuring how to get more people to involve themselves in his ministry.

She sat on a pew worshipping Jesus, wanting to be His disciple.

Jesus sat on the pew with her.