It was 11:30 PM and the rest of my colleagues had departed. The meal was over and the guests were busy dancing their night away.Three courses, bread, wine, and a cabaret of acts had paraded across the dining hall in just a few short hours.
I was so ready to go to bed.
I was not ready for the rudeness of inebriated neckties on a work-sponsored bender.
So, resisting the urge to throw a pint over the man who snapped his fingers at me, I carry a crate of glasses to the pot-wash. I think to myself,
“This would be worth it, if I were receiving tips.”
Cue a sick feeling in the back of my throat.
Did my mind really go there? Is that what my time is worth? Is that what my energy is for?
I worship the one who will give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4), at whose right hand are pleasures forever more (Psalm 16:11), and in the moment, I forget this.
I forget the Lord.
This thing, a minor annoyance at best, becomes the test of my faith.
And this is a test I failed.
This is the test of me as a worker and as a servant. I am pursuing God’s call to be a missionary. How can I serve in hardship and hostility when my heart clings to money as if this is the key to my worth? How will I deal with the months when the money doesn’t come in, or supporters withdraw because they disagree with my direction?
This was my test, and it happened at midnight in a noisy bar as I was pouring Jagerbombs for obnoxious revellers.
Right there and then, I begged the Lord to change me, creating a heart of flesh for my stone-cold one.
And after what happened next, I wanted to share with you the wonder that God would want to answer such a prayer.
See, not a day later I was back at work, yet something was different.
I was different.
The bitter feeling within had dissipated, and my eyes were open to the needs of others. I found myself able to receive others as others, not as obligations or tasks. I found that I had margin to serve my colleagues and listen to customers. I found that the nearness of God had brought me nearer to my fellow humans.
Above all, I found that God is committed to making me into his likeness. He is eager to answer the prayer which says “I want what you have, Father.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”