Today I read a blog by John Knox (John Knox ( @watchmanjohn ) ) entitled Kings And Priests and it got me to thinking about what God does when we are faithful, obedient servants, who simply do what God puts into our hand to do. He enlarges our territory.
John Knox (John Knox ( @watchmanjohn ) ) 's blog caused me to reflect on what my husband has been doing for the past four years. He unexpectedly lost his job in December 2012 after more than 27 years. He was underemployed for 13 months which means he had no full time permanent employment. He only had subcontract work which he picked up here and there. It was during that time, God made it very clear to him that he was supposed to start graduate school and he was to do so without incurring any additional debt. Crazy? Yes, but that is what God told us to do. We were to trust God to provide for us and that's exactly what He did.
When my husband finally got permanent full time work, it was a few steps down from his former job. The pay was much lower, the benefits/perks were poorer and it wasn't as "exciting" and it did not really utilize his specialized skills very much. Still, it was a job and we were very thankful for it.
As an employee of a company contracted to provide tech support to a Fortune 500 company, I was a bit concerned when I learned he would be the only employee of his company in the building shut-off in a conference center. It seemed a bit isolated to me and it was at first considering they were in the process of closing down "Building Z" and moving those employees to their newly built multi-million dollar campus.
My husband, true to form, did not see the empty cubicles and silent hallways in Building Z. He saw people and he began to talk to them. Six months later, Building Z was officially closed and my husband was relocated to the new campus. At first he worked at the largest building with a few other co-workers but then last year, he was transferred to another building on the complex. This building, though it was not as large, housed the highest executives. Once again, he found himself as the lone employee of his company. This time though, the building bustled with constant activity. This was new territory and he set out to "conquer" it.
When I first paid him a visit at his new location, I was greeted by security at the front door. Oh yes, the woman at the front desk new my husband. There were hundreds of employees in that building. He had only been there for a few weeks and yet she knew my husband. As he took me on a tour of the building, he introduced me to this person and that person. These people did not work directly with him but he knew them and they knew him. It was apparent from the comments they made. These were people who had actually engaged in conversation that had gone beyond, "Hello. How are you? I am fine. That's good. So am I. Have a nice day." God had placed him here and therefore he was going to get to know the inhabitants of this territory.
Casual conversations led to the revelation that he was studying toward his Master of Divinity and working on his ministerial credentials. That in turn led to people just casually stopping by to say, "Hello" when in reality they wanted to talk, really talk about the important things.
He does little things like bake banana bread or chocolate chip cookies to pass out to people. He listens to their problems and he prays for them. He chases away their frowns by smiling at them brightly and taking the time to stop and chat for a moment. Taking the time to stop, breaking into the life of someone else for a moment, allowing yourself to be interrupted. Isn't that exactly what Jesus did?
They were remodeling the area right outside of the conference center this past spring. My husband's desk used to look out on a large hall but now that hall has been transformed into a large area with a lot of comfortable sofas and chairs where people can meet or relax. It opens up to a large outdoor patio which overlook some very pretty grounds which include a large picturesque pond complete with ducks and Canadian geese. Minnesota, being the Land of 10,000 Lakes naturally has an abundance of waterfowl. Right next door to my husband is a coffee shop and a small convenience store. That hall has become a very busy place, teeming with foot traffic. The entrance to the conference center, where his desk is located, is all glass so he can see everyone passing by and they can see him.
Last week, my son, daughter-in-law, grandson and myself went to have lunch with my husband. We couldn't go more than 10 steps without having to stop to greet someone or having someone stop us. A number of people stopped us in the cafeteria and a few even came over while we were having lunch. Then of course, there were new friends to be made as well. After lunch it took us awhile to get out of the building. We had to stop and chat here and there and of course, the grandson had to be held and admired by various people.
My husband's "territory" has been enlarged and I do not think it happened by accident. If we want God to enlarge our territory, we must be faithful.