Saturday morning. It is cold outside. After running a couple of quick errands at some stores that opened early I park outside Panera bread and prepare to tackle the long list of tasks waiting for me. I have a sermon to finish, a sermon plan to finalize, emails to deal with, an iPod to sync, and on. Waling across the parking lot I think again — it is COLD!
The Panera bread that I frequent has a three sided fireplace with 4 tables in close proximity. Guess where I am headed?
Over the next several hours I work, I think, I meet with a friend, and I write.
I also observe. You could watch a time lapsed video of the dining area with the fireplace at the center and you would discover quickly that the ebb and flow of diners was around this fireplace. Newcomers looked there first. If nothing was open, many of them sat close by. As tables near the fireplace opened — those sitting nearby would look, consider, and sometimes move closer.
When Jesus was here on earth the gospels show us that people liked being near Him. When there was an opening — they moved in as close as they could. He drew more toward him than He drove away. There were those who couldn’t handle being close to Jesus and pulled away. They couldn’t take the heat.
After awhile I began to feel the heat of the Panera fireplace. I had to shed my sweater. Some felt the heat of being close to Jesus and realized they had to get rid some things to stay there. He forces those close to Him to make some changes.
As a disciple — what is your experience? Are people drawn to the warmth of your Christ-likeness? Do People find themselves making changes because of being in your presence?
Something to think about.