Ministry Minute: “Have a Coke and a Smile”

The weekly “Ministry Minute” will be resuming next Fall.

In the meantime, as you see God at work in your own life – or in the lives of your students, or your colleagues – we hope you’ll consider sharing your experience through a future Ministry Minute. Here’s a few thoughts from a previously posted Ministry Minute from Dr. Phil Bishop:

About 10 years ago the student Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Alliance (GLBA) held their national conference on our campus. Upon announcement of this event, the reaction on campus was mixed. Some people protested the use of taxpayer-funded facilities for a meeting such as this. Others cheered on the GLBA.

Our Christian faculty group asked ourselves: How should we face this event — as something to be protested, or as something to be used for the Gospel? Over the weeks leading up to the event, we planned a means for ministering to the conferees. We raised both money and help so that when there were breaks in the meetings, we could cheerfully serve our visitors free Cokes.

I remember purchasing and hauling a lot of Cokes. I remember a bit of trepidation as we set up tables outside each of the entrances to the meeting hall. Somewhat awkwardly, the master of ceremonies announced the refreshments and acknowledged the hospitality of the Christian Faculty Fellowship.
I remember serving a lot of soft drinks to a variety of people. Some were surprised, others were very grateful, and still others seemed to take it in stride. Those of us who actually served seemed most impacted. Practically the entire group of us remarked about the meaningfulness of the evening. Not too long ago one of the work crew spontaneously recalled the impact of that event of many years past.

Because I was very involved, I was much impacted. I take pleasure in doing the unexpected. It was an early manifestation of what we now call the “Law of Opposites.” The Law of Opposites says that, whatever my first response to a situation, if I do the exact opposite I am most likely to be in line with what God wants me to do. Serving Cokes to the GLBA was probably pretty much the opposite of my first inclination, and even this many years later, I still think it was in line with God’s desires.

A local GLBA officer responsible for setting up the event made an unusual comment. She said that the act of showing kindness had forced her to re-think her opposition to Christianity. Not exactly a conversion, but maybe it was after all. Can we do any better than that?

Steve Sjogren’s book, Conspiracy of Kindness, suggests that an unsolicited act of kindness toward strangers serves as a great venue for sharing the love of Christ with those around us. This principle was independently rediscovered a year or so ago by the wife of one of my doctoral students who dubbed it, Random Acts of Christian Kindness.

When you ask non-Christians to describe Christians, reckless kindness and love towards strangers somehow doesn’t come up very often. But as Paul was fond of saying, “Brothers (and sisters) these things ought not be!”

Jesus tells us that he who is greatest among us is servant of all. Do a random act of Christian kindness for the colleague most hostile to Christianity. Love and serve someone who least expects it. I am glad I did.

This Ministry Minute may be copied or forwarded in its entirety by including © 2010 Phil Bishop, University of Alabama – used by permission of Faculty Commons.
Archived Ministry Minutes can be found here

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Faculty Commons: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
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