Ripped Jeans And Banana Peppers: The Little Things

Everything you wear, say, and do, and don’t wear, say, or do, has a lot of impact on the people who see you.  Not just the people you meet, but the ones you don’t, the ones who watch you from afar.  The ones who you’ll never talk to, but are watching you, sizing themselves up against you.

I learned this first hand on Sunday.

A coworker told me they needed to find a church.  So, I invited them to mine.

“What should I wear?” they asked.

I shrugged.  “Whatever you want.”

They paused for a minute, then asked me, “What are you going to wear?”

I shrugged again.  “A hoodie and my black skinny jeans.”

Mom and I met up with her at a gas station.  “Did I tell you we watch a screen?” I asked as we got closer to Church.

“No,” she said.

Hm, I was sure I did.  “Well, the pastor preaches on Saturday, and that’s what we watch for the services.”

She nodded slowly.  On the one hand, I’m glad she didn’t know before this moment.  She may not have accepted my invitation.  But seriously, I swear I told her.

As we were seated, I watched her as she looked around.  The place was packed.  I had never seen it so full.  (I later found out that there were only ten empty seats left).

“Wow, he must be really good if he can get people out of their beds at 9:30 in the morning to go watch a screen.”  The skepticism on her face and in her tone was evident.  Clearly.

I nodded.  “Oh yeah, he’s good,” I said as I turned away.  Lord, he better be good today, I prayed.  I knew he was going to be, but he had to be really good today.

After worship had ended and Pastor Steven finished his opening speech, we sat down and he announced his message title: It’s A Lot.

“Isn’t that we I just told you?” my friend asked me.  I looked over at her and smiled.  As Pastor Steven went on with the message, she looked over at me again.  “Did you know he was talking about this today?”

I shook my head.  “Nope.”  After the message was done we went to the newcomers lunch.  “Banana peppers?!” my friend exclaimed.  “It’s like they knew I was coming!”

“So, is he good enough to get people out of their beds to go watch a screen?” I asked her when we sat down.

She vigorously nodded her head.  “Oh yeah, he’s really good.”

Later on when I got to work, I could see the difference all over her.  She was all smiles and she kept hugging me.  From three until seven, she could not stop talking about her experience.

“The music was really good,” she told me.  “The singer in the worship team had on ripped jeans!  That made me feel so much better about myself.

“I’ve never taken notes in church before, but he kept saying things I needed to know.

“I should have known that was the type of church you went to, since you don’t like ‘normal’ churches.

“The pastor said things I’ve been saying to you this whole week.

“I can’t believe that those people are like me.”

I asked her if she was going next week, and she immediately replied, “Yep!  I’m going to the 11:30 service.”  This whole week she’s been telling me how excited she is, and how she’s been telling everyone about it, and she even told me she invited someone else.  All because of some ripped jeans, banana peppers, and a message that was specifically made for her.

God doesn’t make mistakes.  Everything the people wore (even the pastor, with this oversized hoodie, blue jeans, and boots), everything they said, the songs they sang, and the food they put out on the table, they were all meant for her.  She needed to come on this day.  I cannot deny the impact this place has made on her.  I cannot deny God’s power.

Every Sunday, this is what people go through.  I had the privilege and the honor of seeing it first hand.  Now when people say, “I’m not the same as I was when I came in here,” I believe them, and I understand at a deeper level what they went through.  I can imagine in greater detail what they were thinking when they came in, and what they are thinking when they come out.

Remember the little things.  Remember that you play a big part in peoples’ lives, both the ones that you meet, and the ones that you don’t.

You matter.

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