06 June, 2010

Jesus and the Nail Salon

Do you remember the day you became engaged to be married? Do you remember the day you got the big promotion? Do you remember the day your baby was born? The one thing that all these days have in common is that we were compelled to share the news. We looked for people to tell. Husbands handed out cigars to complete strangers as they were overjoyed with the birth of their children.
The day Ray asked me to marry him was thrilling. Hours later, I remember stopping by the dry cleaners to pick up laundry but before the sweet old man could do his job, I had thrust my new ring into his face, exclaiming, “I just got engaged”. He was bewildered but seemed happy for me, of course, he also wanted my check for the laundry! These events in life are just too grand to keep bottled up inside ourselves.

Of course, we know the Good News of Jesus is such news. We’re instructed to tell the world. The passion in our hearts demands we tell, doesn’t it? Are we overjoyed by this news of salvation? Has HE become that real to us?

Acts 1:8 is very clear :

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Take to news to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Scholars teach us that these cities represent taking the Word to our neighborhood, our city, our country and then into the world. Many of you know and work with Chinese scholars on university campuses and in that case the world has come to us! China has come to Tuscaloosa and to Starkville and to Corpus Christi and to Memphis and to Dallas! So this command to tell the world the Good News has been easy for some of us as the world has come to our back door! In my work with Chinese scholars I had led myself to believe that I was fully responding to Acts 1:8….but then Jesus met me at the nail salon.

I walked into my 11:00 appointment and was asked to sign in and have a seat. It would be a short wait and I forgot my book – not good. So I sat and begin to watch the world around me. Here are how my thoughts went:

Cute haircut…

Bad choice on the outfit…

Oh, what a sweet looking older lady…

It’s busy today…how much longer...

I like the redecoration they’ve done…

Everybody loves a pedicure….me too...

Oh, the hot towel on the legs!!....

I wish the workers would speak English…

I love that she is massaging the older lady’s shoulders, how loving…

All these workers seem kind and giving…

Oh dear, they have a new Buddha…I wonder why they put a bowl of apples and a bowl of garlic cloves in front of Buddha….

The whisper… “they don’t know. This is My world and they haven’t heard the News”. I looked around the shop at all of us nice American women getting pampered and saw not one of us in dialogue with these workers. That day, I spent one hour with a sweet woman holding my hands throughout a manicure and we spoke hardly at all. This one woman I see every two weeks and not one word of the Good News did I share. She doesn’t know the News. She prepares offerings to Buddha in hopes of reaching a god.

I’ve lived as though the Chinese scholars are my only mission field. I can’t see the forest for the trees. I have no eyes to see hurting people around me. Forgive me Lord.

I wondered this afternoon if Jesus had come into the nail salon whose hands and feet He would have pampered. What words of love He would have offered into this mission field?

If I truly believe the gospel is Good News and I truly believe we are called to take the message into the world, then WHY is my mouth shut? As I so eagerly thrust my engaged hand in the face of the man at the laundry then let me eagerly thrust my hands of service into the face of my little world.

Forgive me, Lord.

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