Tonight we're picking up partners from Thailand who will be staying with us, and then our Global Missions Conference gets underway. It will be a week with a full schedule that will leave us with full hearts. Maybe my mind was already "here," but this Day in a Cafe seemed well timed ... even divinely timed. We appreciate your prayers for a sweet week considering the People of the World.
We were kind of tired from a lot of serving and needed to get away to a quiet, secluded place to rest. Along the way, we found a new coffee shop. At the counter, a woman without a smile met us and took our orders. She asked if my coffee was to stay or to go, but she answered that it didn’t matter before I could say I wanted to stay. We ordered a Divine Bar to share, and she tried to give us the corner piece with a chunk missing. She makes me want to call this one a “store,” instead of a “café.” There’s a difference.
Out of the four rooms with wide oak trimmed doors, we picked a small table in a corner; the high stools gave a good view of the store. Except for the man with many papers, the rest of the store was full of couples. Maybe they felt less intimidated by the smile-less woman if they come in pairs.
The couple facing the door seems to be an interesting mix. She has long straight hair in the kind of scrunchy my kids tell me people wore in the 80’s. Her friend has a baseball hat and hip black glasses that make me wonder if he’s the special music tonight. They got mugs from the woman at the counter.
Not too far from the mismatched pair, a perfectly matched couple shares a single chair, piled on like a two scoop ice cream cone. I don’t even think they have coffee. They don’t act like they know they’re in a “store.”
Two women with a baby sit under the mantel, chatting like people who practice talking softly while a baby sleeps. From my view two other women pairs are deep in conversation. One twosome both have night black hair and slanted eyes, and they talk fast and close in a language different from any other in the store. Maybe they made the counter woman grouchy. Glasses and cups fill the table in front of them, like they want to settle in and stay for a while.
On the other side of the wall from the jabbering friends sits two women with salt and caramel colored hair, and they talk close but loud, in the language we know. While we share our Divine Bar, one lady shares all about her upcoming trip to faraway places. She feels a total confidence about traveling and gaining an understanding of foreign people, and she found a white head scarf at TJ Maxx, so that makes her feel like she’s “meant” to go on this journey of discovery. She knows she’s meant to experience the people of the world. Her girlfriend is excited for her and thinks “That’s great” a lot; they’re talking pretty loud. I don’t think they know there are “people of the world” on the other side of the wall from them, right here in this store.
Come to think of it, the two scoop couple in the single chair is rather foreign acting. The baby with the ladies is jabbering in its language, and the man with the papers is definitely studying something. To be honest, the smile-less counter woman doesn’t seem like she fits in here at all; maybe she’s from a different place too. This store is FILLED with people of the world. The woman about to take a trip could start right here, and she wouldn’t even have to wear her head scarf from TJ Maxx.
Jesus once went away to a secluded place with his disciples. They had been so busy with people they didn’t even have time to eat, so they needed a little “café time.” The crowds from many different places saw them leaving and followed them. Instead of blurting out, “For crying out loud, I’m trying to have a quiet and a cup of coffee,” Jesus acted so differently. “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). When Jesus saw the people of the world He felt compassion for them.
I’m not always like Jesus, especially when I haven’t eaten and I just want to find a secluded place. I should’ve smiled at the counter woman when she gave me the paper cup. I don’t have a white head scarf, and I’m not going to the same “so great” place that the caramel headed lady is, but I’m going to my life and to another café another day. I tossed away my empty cup and noticed everyone else in the café crowd had settled in with their ceramic mugs, these people of the world.
- Would you be willing to ask God to show you the "People of the world" around you?
- And would you ask Him to give you the kind of compassion He has for them?