Jesus works at a Coffee Shop


Something that Rick mentions often with his kids is this: when they do something right, its not simply “good job, that was nice, I’m proud of you.” Instead what he says is “thank you for looking like Jesus when you did that.” What an eternal perspective that gives the mundane tasks we encounter on a daily basis. Evidences of grace are not only to be found in the walking-on-the-water moments of life, but every day – everywhere. If the heavens themselves declare God’s glory, why are we so often surprised when we see it around us?

So, yesterday, I was at the Silver Chair – just sitting and journaling. For the sake of everyone who reads this blog, I won’t post the entire journal entry (3 pages, font size 8 and 10) but if your’e interested, let me know and I’d be happy to send it to you. The time began with Ps. 139 – how precious to me are your thoughts, oh God! – Do you ever have those “aha” moments where something you’ve “known” for your entire life suddenly takes on new meaning? Well, that’s what happened here. I had always interpreted this verse as saying “how precious are your thoughts of me oh God” and looked at it as the way God viewes us post-regeneration. But I don’t quite think that was the Psalmist’s intent. It says “how precious to me are your thoughts…” So, that spurned 3 hours of meditation on the thoughts of God. What do they mean? What do they signify? What implications do God’s thoughts have on my life?

As I was processing and working through my thoughts on thoughts (hehe! i’m smiling right now as I’m thinking of my fellow-muser Jess R) =). So, there I was, away from the world, and lo and behold… who was there?… I ran into Jesus. Not just a book about Jesus, but the life and heart of Jesus at work on display. Matt McCarnan was working last night at the store. Those glimpses of God started the moment I walked in. Here’s how it progressed…

“hey there. have you ever been here before?”
“nope. a great friend told me it was a nice cozy place to think and I believe that would do me a lot of good. can i get some tea before i sit down?”
“well, i knew you would ask, so i’m actually already heating the water for you. Pick out the kind you want, find a place to sit and I’ll bring it to you.”

aside here – seriously, who anticipates needs like this? I’d never been there before. I’ve never that I can remember had a cup of tea when Matt’s around. So, the evening continued…

“I think I’ll sit on this comfy looking couch here.”
“yeah its great – I’ve practically slept there before.”
“um… is there an outlet nearby? my laptop doesn’t last long without some juice.”

this was the point when Matt is on his knees pulling books off the shelf to find an outlet behind them.

“um. its okay. i can sit somewhere else.”
“don’t be ridiculous… you’re gonna sit here.”
“um. okay. but seriously…”
“just stop it. I’m finding you a solution here. now sit down and let me do my job.”

not exact words but that was the basic idea. :) So, he comes back a second later with a power strip, finds an old plug, unplugs what’s there and plugs it into the power strip and then proceeds to hold out his hand (I was sitting at this point on the couch) and takes my power strip and plugs it in so I didn’t have to get up. Feeling guilty for him serving so painstakingly (note: painstakingly is a synonym for earnestly… sound familiar?), I got up to go get my tea. I take the little pot with flowers on it and sit back down. I drink a cup and then realize I’d like a little sugar and cream. So, I get back up and get it. I ask him if he’d mind taking the teabag out of the pot b/c I think its been there long enough. He does. The evening goes on.

Later I order a second pot of tea, simply as a bladder cleansing ritual (well, that’s what my body thought… I ordered it because it was yummy!) When it’s done, he brings it to me. About 5 minutes later, I look to take the teabag out and lo and behold it wasn’t there. Mr. Jesus-impersonater had thought ahead and already done it.

What an encouragement those little things (and so many more) were to me last night. I entered the bookstore parched, weary and desperately begging for the Holy Spirit to refresh me. It happened in an unexpected manner. I left the bookstore having seen a personal flesh-and-blood example of the sermon from Sunday. I left having experienced what it means to be earnestly loved. One question from Sunday was “what does gospel love feel like?” It felt like I felt when I left the Silver Chair last night at 9:54. I felt blessed. I felt overwhelmed with God’ goodness as displayed through Matt. I was blown away by his humility.

I know if you ask Matt, he would simply say he was doing his job. That’s ridiculous. His job is to make sure no one who wants to buy something can’t find the employee. His job is to learn more about the books they sell. His job is simply to make coffee and keep the overall peace. He did far more. He served. He loved. It was cool. It “felt” great to see this gospel love and service. It felt like I was looking at Jesus. It felt like a cold shower after a long run on a hot day or like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold, rainy day. It felt refreshing, encouraging and renewing.


4 responses »

  1. emily…
    i, well, hmmm.
    no more, please.
    to be honest, i got an anonymous tip about the tea. not my idea.
    i’m humbled by God’s work in your heart, and His graciousness to use me to encourage you. God is mysterious, and God is “at the bottom of it all.”
    i’m incredibly encouraged by what God did in you.
    and, for the record, Jesus never got paid for His efforts…(cf heb 12.3)
    thanks for pointing me back to the cross, emily.

  2. Matt,
    the tip was good. thanks for listening to it. God was kind. thanks for serving – whether you get paid or not, in my mind has nothing to do with the extent to which you went to serve. So, I’m truly grateful. Thanks for simply being a means of pointing me back to Jesus.

  3. emily,

    i need to remember not to read your blog at work. that was unreal.

    i’m so grateful to God for the work He did in you tuesday. i’m humbled and amazed that you could pull all that out of my actions, forgetting to mention all the stuff i didn’t do, did wrong, or did in the wrong spirit. i’m encouraged by your gospel-informed perspective, and challenged by it as well. God is at work, and He cannot be stopped. like you mentioned, grace and mercy are evident in the water-walking, but sometimes more so in the routine activities of life. He meets us in our condition, transforms us, and uses us. how humbling!

    my anonymous tipper was very encouraged, as well, and is also pointing to God as the giver. whatever you saw, everything you saw, is not of me. nothing that happened is not a work of unconditional, unsolicited, unmerited grace. God must be praised for His abounding love and work!

    and again, Jesus never got paid.

    thank you for your encouraging words, and your connecting what you saw to the power and work of the gospel.

    i hope that today is a day that you can rest in that work of the gospel.

    all of grace,

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