“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1.1)
My first job here in Chicago was as a seasonal supervisor at the famous Walnut Room restaurant inside Macy’s on State Street. The holidays are especially busy for the restaurant since it has the famous 45 foot tall “Great Tree” in it every year with thousands of lights and ornaments. It’s an amazing site, filling your eyes with sparkles and colors making you feel like a goldfish suddenly dropped into Lake Michigan unsure of which way to go and overwhelmed by the vastness of it all.
The crowds and stress were just as overwhelming. And I quickly found myself feeling like a boxer who was staggering in the ring just trying to stay on my feet while unexpected blows kept coming from all directions. As I found myself surrounded by a sea of 600 customers, I needed something to stabilize me, and I needed it fast. Several verses popped into my mind like Isaiah 40:31 or Philippians 4:13. But God had other plans.
The Lord gave me Mark 1.1 as my anchor. It would help me get through the rush of the holiday season and to keep cool under all circumstances, even when the customer was furious over a cold cup of soup or a steak that was a bit too red inside. Mark 1.1 was the answer, and let me share with you how.
God told me, “Brian, for many of your coworkers, and for many of these customers, you are the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” In other words, your love and grace to them introduces them to a taste, an appetizer, of the main course–which is God’s love for them in Christ Jesus. And every customer in that room IS related to Jesus Christ. Perhaps not in a spiritual sense (if they aren’t Christians yet), but in a very DNA-distant cousin sense. Therefore they each need my utmost love and attention, and for the sake and honor of Christ I will give it to them.
1. There is somebody in your life, right now, for whom YOU are the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ask the Lord to give you a greater awareness of this truth.
2. Every beginning introduces a process. Remember that your faith needs time to grow, and that yes, it can grow in any and every circumstance (even in a crowded restaurant waiting on tables!).
3. Finally, every beginning has an end. Be encouraged that yes, God has started a new work in you that He will see through to completion. There are no people in the Bible nor people in the pages of human history who are forgotten by God. He is actively and responsibly involved in every project He has started–and YOU are one of His most complex and beautiful projects!