Several years ago I worked as the Chief Steward, cook, on a small ship. The whole crew knew of my Christian beliefs and I did have many conversations with crew members, mostly they tried to test or disprove my theology. Never-the-less I persevered and prayed for the crew every morning and night asking for wisdom or a word that I could share with them.
One morning it came. There it was, a Bible scripture that I absolutely knew was from God Himself and God also told me where and when I was to deliver it. The Captain and Engineer both stayed after lunch in the galley where they talked of many things, mostly gossip and worldly topics but, knowing my place I would never butt in and give an opinion unless asked. Today I would seize upon the opportunity knowing that God had my back.
Lunch came and was over, The Captain was there, the Engineer was there and after I had finished my cleaning the moment arose. They even called me over to deliver an extra cup of coffee. How perfect was that? Coffee pot in hand, I confidently strolled over and blurted out the scripture message I was to deliver to them.
They both glared at me, turned to each other, and basically laughed.
Very embarrassing!! Not what I expected.
Um, God, you have let me down here.
I finished up the last of the clean-up and retreated back to my cabin to have a little deliberation time with God. What happened here? Did I get the message wrong? Wrong persons? Wrong time? Did my over exuberance get in the way? Please, I need an answer.
After about an hour, still feeling a bit dejected, I made my way to the rear deck to take in some of the grandeur of the North B.C. coast. I was joined after several minutes by another crew member.
“Do you really believe what you said to the Captain in the galley earlier?” he asked.
Apparently, just as I sashayed over to the Captain’s table with the coffee, he had entered the galley behind me and I didn’t even notice he was there. The message was for him.
I was able to share the Gospel message with him but, at that time I wasn’t able to lead him through the sinners prayer and lead him directly to Christ. It wasn’t till our next tour, some three weeks later, that he came to me and said that during his time off he gave his life to Christ and was baptized.
A little embarrassment is but a very small price to pay for another man’s salvation and glory for Christ. Could the message have been initiated in another way, perhaps, but, this was the way of God’s choosing. For me the lesson was, be obedient but, don’t take God for granted. It is all God’s work and God’s timing, – not our own.
For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew, that we may do those good works which God predestined and planned beforehand for us, that we should walk and live in them.
Ephesians 2: 10 (Paraphrased)
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, for our failures, and find grace for appropriate and well-timed help, coming just when we need it.
Hebrews 4: 16 (Paraphrased)
Living prudently and with discretion in your relations with the non-Christians of the outside world, making the very most of the time and seizing the opportunity to work God’s blessings.
Colossians 4: 5 (Paraphrased)