Beauty in unexpected places

I have a friend who rented some space in an upmarket building in north east Sydney recently. He started a physio business. I went to visit him the other day, struggling to find my way through the maze of corridors in the building.

Truth be told he doesn’t have many patients yet. And so he prays. He really believes that it’s God who started the business and God who owns the business, that God is the boss. The different thing is, my friend doesn’t pray so that patients will come. He prays to be close to God and to know what’s on His heart and mind.

Every week I ask him, “So is the business going well?” He always says, “It’s going great.” I ask, “Did you have many patients this week?” He says, “Nope.” I say, “So why is it going great?” He says, “Because I’m getting closer to God.” I like to hear him say that so I ask the same question over and over again.

He really doesn’t seem to mind whether the business grows or fails except that he does what the boss tells him to do. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect he ran out of money to pay the rent a few weeks back. But it’s the responsibility of the boss to pay the bills right? So the business goes on.

When I went to visit my friend, we talked for a while and he shared his vision to me – about God being the boss. Then we prayed. In the middle of our prayers a potential client came in the front door. I stayed out of sight as my friend went out to greet this woman. I listened to see what would happen.

It turned out that the woman was only looking for an exercise program recommendation. Now I don’t know about you, but if I were trying to start a business and someone came in I’d try and sign them up pretty quick smart. I’d withhold advice and say they needed to make an appointment. If I were my friend, I’d have the week’s rent, the bills at home, food for a young wife and two children weighing like a ten ton brick on my back and heart and mind. But my friend spent 15 minutes giving this elderly woman advice and talking her through the different options available to her. He printed out addresses and phone numbers. He discussed different exercise regimes and what different gyms and programs might cost.

I sat in one of my friend’s appointment rooms and listened to all this and smiled and prayed and stretched out MY spirit to feel what was going on in THE Spirit.  There was a witness of the beauty of Jesus going forth. This was the testimony of Jesus – generous and passionate about what He did, striving for the best for others without asking anything in return, having the Holy Spirit hover about Him, working only to please His Father as a faithful witness.

At the end of the discussion the woman asked, “You’re so generous, why are you doing this?” She had been touched by something when she walked into that room. She had come from the harsh world outside with all its worry and effort and fear and She had stepped into something from a different world. I could tell she was feeling it deep down in her soul.

This is what we’re called to as disciples of Jesus. We’re called to be the kings of the earth. Ones in the world but COMPLETELY of another. We are called not to subscribe to the values and ways of this earth but of a kingdom whose ways are entirely different and to our human minds, up-side-down. You can tack your Christian values on to the seemingly successful ways of the world and live life that if you want to. Life will generally work out pretty comfortably that way and there’s nothing wrong with it. But God has so much more for His children. He has an invitation to trust Him with everything and when I say everything, I mean everything. He has an invitation to give up all and behold the beauty of His heart for you. It’ll be scary and confusing, it can’t not be for us who have walked mostly by sight our whole lives. But it’ll be glorious. It’ll be worth it. It’ll be the most life giving adventure you’ve ever been on. It all starts with dialing down your life and setting aside time to seek out His beauty through prayer and the Word. I really want this! Would you want it to?

J. Ratcliffe

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