There’s a little coffee house next to the apartment complex where we live during Spring Training. I usually walk down to it every Sunday morning after watching our church service back home. Emily is the barista on Sundays. She remembers me from last year, even remembers my favorite iced coffee drink. We always have a little chat after I ask her how her week was. Then I take my drink outside, read for a while, and people watch a little.
This morning I walked in, chatted and while I waited on my drink, observed a little family made up of a young couple with a three year old, and her grandparents. They were sitting in leather chairs that surround a coffee table. On that table is a wooden game board of tic-tac-toe, the “x” and “o” pieces made of metal. I heard one of the grandparents ask, “What is that?” Then I heard a little voice say, “Jesus!” I turned in the direction of that tiny voice, and there stood the little girl holding up the “x” from that game. She was holding it in a way that the game piece looked like The Cross. The grandparents said “Oh yes, Jesus!” So then I joined in the conversation. We all introduced ourselves. The family had stopped in to have some coffee before heading to church. We talked about our faith, about why I was here and the unique platform my husband and I have to share about Christ. As we talked, I saw other people in that small room start to listen. Eyes were lifting up and away from laptops, turning toward this group of ours in the middle of the room talking some Jesus. I’m not sure the minds behind those eyes were really liking what they were hearing, but they were hearing The Message, and that’s something.
This beautiful Sunday morning, a sweet little girl saw Jesus in something as simple as a game piece. I sat outside for a while after visiting with that family and thought about the game piece, and about how I look to others when it comes to being a Christian. Do people look at little ol’ me and see Christ? I know there are times that I don’t present myself as such, some people make it difficult for me to be Christ-like and when that happens, I miss opportunity to share what is different about me, beating myself up over my failure. Then I think of the time when someone remarked to my husband that they always see me smiling, or the waitress at a restaurant here in Arizona who remembered us from a year ago, or Emily who remembered me and my favorite beverage as soon as I walked into the coffee house after being away for a year. In those little instances I think God is showing me that every now and then because of Jesus living in me and allowing Him to shine, I’m getting it right. In those little instances, He’s showing me why He has me where I am and I’m to appreciate that, even though I don’t always like it.
Here I am, a small town Southern girl in a place called Arizona, a place I would have never imagined myself being. Here I am in a seat at a small table outside of a coffee house, a book in hand, watching the people around me and thanking God for sending us Jesus so that we could have the opportunity to be an “x” in this world. As Christians, each of us are God’s Game Piece. There are so many in our day and time who need a smile, a kind word, love, compassion, and Jesus. I look up from my book with a smile, a “good morning,” a desire to grab the attention of someone who is lost, and with a hope that one of them will recognize the Jesus in me.
About that time the disciples came to Jesus to ask which of them would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven!
2 Jesus called a small child over to him and set the little fellow down among them, 3 and said, “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. 5 And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine is welcoming me and caring for me. 6 But if any of you causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose his faith, it would be better for you to have a rock tied to your neck and be thrown into the sea. —Matthew 18:1-6