The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:5-6 NIV
I wasn’t happy. I wanted to be asleep. I’d been on the missionary road for 2 weeks and had traveled from Pennsylvania to Florida. I usually sleep in campgrounds but the church I was speaking at that morning had generously bought me a hotel room. I’d set the clock for 7 AM but awoke at 5:45. Breakfast wasn’t until 6:30 so I walked Belle the Missionary Dog and did my morning devotions. At 6:30, I dashed downstairs. Breakfast wasn’t ready.
I peeked in the kitchen. A busy woman said, “It will be out in a few minutes.”
I’m not a morning person. Add hungry to the mix and I could have been downright dangerous. I took a breath and fought to take my nasty thoughts captive.
Instead of saying what I wanted to say, I asked politely, “Did I misread the breakfast time?”
“No,” she said as she frantically filled bowls. “I’ve been out for several days. They didn’t tell me that a machine was broken and everything was in a different place.”
“You’re having a bad morning. Relax. It will be OK. I’m a Christian missionary. I travel the country talking to people about Jesus. Tell me your name and I’ll pray for you.”
Her name was Mary. She calmed down and looked grateful. I prayed and she finished getting breakfast out.
“May I talk to you?” she asked, after everything was out.
“Absolutely,” I said, looking wistfully at eggs on my plate. “Have a seat.”
“I’ve been dating this nice man for 6 weeks. Jim talks about Jesus and wants to pray at meals. I went to Catholic school so I believe in God but he’s different than me. I want to be like that but I’m not.”
“Are you a Christian?” I asked.
“I think so – I’m Catholic.”
“If you’re Catholic, you believe in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Right?” She nodded.
“I know you’ve confessed your sins.” She laughed and nodded.
“Have you prayed and invited Jesus to be your personal Savior and Lord?”
She hesitated before she said, “I must have.”
“I can tell by your hesitation that you haven’t. You would remember. I suspect that is the difference between Jim and you. Jim has probably asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior so Jesus is personal to him.”
Another customer walked up so Mary had to go back her job. I finally ate my cold eggs. When Mary was between tasks, I tried to continue the conversation but she pointed to a table and looked self-conscious.
“Is that Jim?” I whispered. She nodded.
I was only two tables from Jim so I turned to him and said loudly, “Jim. Mary says you pray with her. Are you a born again Christian?”
“Yes Ma’am, I am. Since I was 12.” He could eat and talk at the same time. I’ve got to learn that technique.
“Mary and I have been talking about Jesus. She recognized Jesus in your life. Good for you! She believes in Jesus but hasn’t invited Him into her life.”
We both looked at Mary. I said, “The 3 of us could do this right now. You could pray and meet Jesus personally.”
“No, I couldn’t do it,” she said, backing up. “I’m too shy to pray aloud.”
“You can do this!” I said encouragingly. “I’ll tell you want to say. Hold our hands.” There in the Comfort Inn, in a small town in Sunny Florida, Mary quietly repeated the words that changed her life and eternity. When we finished, she was crying. Jim was beaming.
“Jim, you’ve got to promise to help her learn to study the Bible,” I said. “If I don’t hurry, I’m going to be late for my speaking engagement.”
After I got dressed, I took one of my books to Mary. She was still glowing.
I made my event just in time to set up. I began by telling the 300 women about Mary. Everyone clapped. I’m getting bolder about giving invitations after I speak, so at the end I invited people to do what Mary did. This particular church had planned an alter call. I stood awestruck as 4 people came forward to ask Jesus to be their Savior. To the surprise of the church, about two dozen people stepped forward for re-dedication or prayer.
What a day of miracles. If I’d given into the temptation of that morning grump, this entire day would have turned out differently. I loaded up my camper van Halleluiah, and Belle and I went off in search of our next miracle.
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
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