A couple weeks ago, I walked through security at the Tallahassee airport and headed toward my gate. I saw him instantly—an older man in a wheelchair tuning a mandolin. Not something you see every day.
I sat down near him to enjoy the melody emanating from that beautiful instrument, but he quickly began to put it away. Before I could think of a reason not to, I leaned over and blurted out something like, “Excuse me. I’m a writer, and I would love to have a picture of you holding your instrument. Would that be okay?”
He beamed. “Of course! Do whatever you’d like.”
We introduced ourselves, and he said his name was Mr. Gordon. He sat proudly holding his mandolin while I snapped a few photos. Then he told me all about the love of his life: Maggie Maggie (pronounced Maggie McGee). Of course, he was referring to the century-old wooden mandolin he held with pure reverence. Mr. Gordon had been the proud owner of Maggie Maggie for the past fifty years.
Our talk soon turned to the reasons for our trips. I was on my way to New York for the first time to attend the BookExpo of America. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was trusting God was going to do awesome things.
Mr. Gordon was fleeing a disaster. He had lived in Hawaii for much of his life, and now his home was being threatened by recent volcanic activity. When lava had come within two miles of his house, he was evacuated. Fortunately, he had family in Georgia, which is where he had spent the past couple weeks. Now he was headed to Tennessee to visit with some old musician friends. He wasn’t sure if he’d have a house to go back to, but he was glad for the opportunity to reconnect with those who mattered most.
Available for Service
It may have been the mandolin that caught my attention that day, but it was Mr. Gordon’s sweet spirit that drew me to him. You might call it a God connection. At the end of our conversation, I asked to pray with Mr. Gordon (something I don’t do very often), and he readily agreed. I was only slightly embarrassed as I wiped away a couple tears during our prayer. After all, it is a holy thing to speak true words of comfort over a brother in Christ.
“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NAS).
That encounter with Mr. Gordon set the tone for my trip to New York. I was reminded that God’s plans are greater than mine, and He is always looking for opportunities to draw others to Himself…even in the middle of an airport. I agreed right then to make myself available to Him—even in busy New York—so I could be useful for His service.
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20 NAS).
The trip to New York was awesome! We had a wonderful time, and the fruit of those meetings is still being realized. But it’s the Mr. Gordons that I met along the way who mattered the most.
Encouragement for the Week
This week, I encourage you to make yourself available and useful to the Lord. Start by saying a simple prayer like this: “Lord, life is so busy that it can be hard to recognize those you put in my path. Please forgive me for all the opportunities I’ve missed to do your will. Soften my heart and quicken my spirit so that I can be receptive to your desires. Make me a willing participant in your kingdom work. In the name of the True Servant, Jesus. Amen.”
Have you had any “God connections” lately? Did they encourage your spirit?
[Click to Tweet: Lord, help me to not be so busy that I fail to be useful for your Kingdom. #faithlife]