Someone Nearby Might Be Watching

MandarinAfter an appointment with our optometrist, Kathleen and I decided to go on to the Mandarin for our noon meal.

The Mandarin is an acclaimed Chinese restaurant here in Brampton, Ontario. It is one of several Mandarins but this one is the teaching site for all of them so diners receive a care that is unusual for its warmth and attentiveness.

We understand that its five large dining rooms could accommodate 500 patrons at one time, and during the time set for the noon meal (from 11:30 am until 2 pm) all five appear quite well used.

We were graciously seated in the bird room, where a large glassed-in bird enclosure, large enough for a human keeper to enter and move around in, frames one wall. In it were several pairs of love birds patrons could watch while eating.

Once shown to a table, diners remain seated until servers have introduced themselves and offered them steaming hot cloths for their hands. Then they leave their table and join other patrons in a large central area where the vast array of delectable choices awaits.

First there is the long two-sided salad bar where one could fill a plate with more than 30 choices.The second trip to the buffet area is to the long two-sided serving tables where a wide variety of Chinese-style entrees await. The third trip back is to an elaborate dessert bar.

Our table was set for four but Kathleen and I sat on two adjoining sides so we could be close enough to chat as we ate.

We were enjoying our entrees when a woman came from another table of four who were eating nearby and spoke to us. “It’s such a delight” she said pleasantly, “to see two elderly people relishing a meal together and appearing to enjoy one another’s company.”

Kathleen and I are not yet fully adjusted to the adjective, “elderly” but we smiled and agreed that this was a pleasant experience for both of us.

She had noted and wondered at our serenity and apparent pleasure. She asked, what was the secret? I offered in a few words that we pray together regularly, and we enjoy our life together.

”With the word, pray, she brightened further. “Oh.” she said, “That’s precious; you’re believers; I’m a believer too; I have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ to be my Savior.” She later added that she was a Baptist from Northern Alberta. The buzz of many conversations going on at the same time in the large room kept our talk easy but private.

She was an attractive woman, much younger, with stylish glasses, and she exuded a sense of inward joy herself. She left us briefly and then returned to ask permission to take our picture. We accommodated, moving close together so she could get a close-up.

Later Kathleen and I agreed in our conversation alone that we never know when someone nearby is watching. Nor what a quiet, well-chosen word might draw from total strangers.

With the increasing secularization of our society and the growing hostility toward Christianity, it’s going to become more and more important for serious Christians to “let our lights shine” in whatever ways are possible and appropriate.

Sometimes we might have occasion to let it shine like a spotlight, focused and declaring unabashedly the Lordship of Jesus Christ; at other times it might shine by a mere gesture such as bowing our heads in a public place to offer thanks over a meal; or it may be merely a gracious word dropped to a waitress when paying the bill; at other times it could be no more than some unplanned kindness offered with a quiet: “God bless you.”

But at the least our witness must be reflected merely in a general demeanor — personal and Christ-honoring — that carries a wordless message, realizing that we seldom know who’s watching.

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2 thoughts on “Someone Nearby Might Be Watching

  1. What a spectacular restaurant the Mandarin sounds. Pastor Don, you painted in words ,a very vivid and delightful picture of the bird room .

    I like it that you and Kathleen are not yet fully adjusted to the tag elderly.I’ve found it one of the happy surprises in life that no matter how old one becomes in birthdays ,one never actually feels that old. We’re just the same, but with more years of experience lived,more memories,more people met..In my twenties, sixty seemed ancient.Now I,ve passed that milestone , I don’t feel that different inside.

    I’m saddened by what seems to be a growing hostility to Christianity here in UK ,compared to what I seem to remember from the late 50s & 60s when I was growing up.But I get the impression there is far less hostility to Christianity in Canada and USA.The Christians I meet from the North American continent speak of far bigger congregations and better church attendances.I hope that’s so.

    Pastor you’re so right that we should let the light of our faith shine publicly.I used to be more reluctant to do so ,having met mild hostility on two occasions,but only twice & only mild.. On other occasions I found the stranger I declared my faith to was a fellow Christian and we affirmed each other’s faith and felt that glow of fraternity.

    More than once the stranger revealed they used to go to go to church or Sunday school and we got to talk about faith in our lives,how it gave us a feeling of security and rules..I’m always interested to leaern about other denominations and I believe we are all one universal church,the body of Christ.

    Once,at Boots the chemists, for a blood test ( North Americans may call it a drug store or pharmacy,not a chemists) ,the blood technician was a locum who I’d never seen before‘He noticed my Coventry Cross of Nails ( a symbol of Christian international reconciliation ). We talked about Christianity. It turns out he was raised Roman Catholic and recalled with pleasure Sundays going to Mass with his family

    .My day was brightened when my blood technician said our talk had made him want to go again and he intended to go to St Osburgs to Mass the following Lord’s Day.

    I always try to remember that as a Christian who accepts Jesus as my Saviour ,I belong to Him and represent Him in my daily life.It’s a big responsibility but an honour to know that someone may be watching me and through the way I am, may judge the value of my even view the Lord Himself ,His Light, through the prism of my conduct and demeanour.

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