Be Present and Eat Pizza
Question: What is your favorite kind of pizza? Chicago deep dish? New York style? Detroit style pizza? Maybe all three?!? Or do you like keeping it simple with only cheese? You could be like my kiddos…PEPPERONI ALL THE WAY! For me, I’m a pizza connoisseur. If it has crust and pizza sauce, I’m going to eat it. In fact, last night my family and I had pizza at one of our favorite places in downtown Chattanooga. It was delicious and there were no leftovers!
Ok, let me set up this post with a story. I was meeting up with a couple of friends at a pizza place in Chattanooga some time back. I called to see if they were open and discovered they were closing in 30 minutes. Now, this particular place is my buddy’s favorite pizza restaurant in Chatty. The young lady on the phone was super nice and said, “If you want to carry out, I’ll ask the kitchen if they can keep the oven hot and we’ll get your pies made.” I said, “That would be amazing! Thank you for your kindness.”
So I make my way to pick up the pizza. When I arrive the parking lot is empty and when I walk inside most of the lights are off except in the back and up near the register. The young lady I talked on the phone with greeted me. I said, “Hey, thank you so much for keeping the kitchen open. My friend is going to be so happy.” She said, “No problem.” I began to ask about her day and how it went. She said she pulled a double shift and explained that business had been so slow recently, they were cutting back on their hours of operation. She looked tired but had a smile on her face. The person in the kitchen brought out our pizza. Hot and fresh. The young lady said, “Hey, I’m going to give you my employee discount for your pizza.” I said, “Please don’t! You guys need the money.” She said, “No sir! I want to because your friend loves our pizza so much.” I said, “You are too kind. If you don’t mind me asking, what was your biggest tip today?” She said, “$10.” I said, “How about I give you that and then triple it!” She was blown away, tears began streaming down her face. I think some of those tears were because she was tired, but I also think that she was just blown away that a stranger would be so generous with a tip. I thanked her and told her to have a wonderful weekend. I got in my car and my brain started to replay the entire interaction I just had with this young lady.
I believe that God appoints special moments throughout our lives. There are two words for time in the Greek language. You have chronos which is where we get the word “chronological.” This is time as we know it. Right now it’s 9:22pm and in 60 seconds it will be 9:23pm and so on. It’s the tick tick ticking of time. The other Greek word for time is kairos. These are God-appointed moments that are unique and purposeful. You never know when you’ll step into one. But I’m 100% certain, that moment, that evening at that pizza place with that young lady, was a kairos moment.
Now I’m on my way to meet up with my friend, and the smell of pizza is filling up my car!!! It took every bit of my inner strength to not open up that box and grab a slice. As I’m driving, I keep replaying this moment and I can’t help but think there’s something for me to learn. What was God trying to teach me? My thoughts swirled around the connection between kindness and generosity. How do these two attributes relate? Here were my initial thoughts:
Check out this passage in Titus…
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
My good friend, Dr. Jim Moon, who is a worship pastor in the area where I live, says that transformation begins at the point of intersection. He has encouraged me many times to be aware of moments where my life intersects the lives of others. The secret is knowing when to pause and lean into a moment. I knew the pizza lady was so ready to be done with her day, close up shop, and head home. I normally would have just kept quiet, don’t talk, pay and get your pizza. But those words from Jim were pulling on my heart. Lean in to this moment and just see if something good and transforming can take place. I’m so glad I did!
In the gospels, we see many times where Jesus’s life intersected with the lives of others. The result was often some form of transformation through healing, forgiveness of sins, or through one of his teachings. Just look at your own life and you’ll find the transformative power of the Gospel at work in you as your life crossed paths with Jesus.
Because of the grace given to me through the kindness and generous sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, I should show kindness and generosity to others. My response to this young lady was a reflection of what I’ve experienced as a Christ follower. I wanted her to know that her kindness made a difference in my life. Was it earth-shattering transformation? No. But in the small, short interaction, I was greatly moved. My heart was moved which caused my action to be generous.
I’m so glad God poured out his Holy Spirit on my life. There’s nothing I’ve done or could do that would earn that level of kindness. I’m so glad God didn’t hold back his mercy because that is what gives me the hope of eternal life.
So what do you do now? Here are a few points of application that are simple, yet take a great deal of intentionality to implement in your daily life.
So today, be kind in words. Be kind in action. Let the transforming power of God’s grace and time guide your day. And maybe go grab a slice of pizza!
Written by Danny Hesterly
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