They Reverently Took Off Their Hats

I was on break, sitting in the corner of the restaurant I work at eating my dinner. The dining room was pretty empty – quiet, calm. I looked up to see a family walking in. Dad, Mom, and three boys. I chuckled to myself because they reminded me of ducks, all in height order. Dad, the tallest. Mom next, then the three others. All in a straight line.

They ordered their food, and sat down a few booths away from me, across the aisle. Two boys on one side, mom and another son on the other. Dad at the head of the table.

I saw another family glance at them, chuckling among themselves. I wasn’t. I was carefully watching what they did next. All of them reverently took off their hats, closed their eyes, and thanked God for their food. The other family starting whispering again. I was simply convicted.

I totally forgot to thank God for my food! I thought to myself. Okay, well…I guess I just flat out didn’t do it because I just didn’t feel like it.

The family concluded their prayer, returned their hats to their heads, and began eating. I really wanted to walk over and thank them right then and there for their example to me and to others in the restaurant. People may think it’s old and cliche to talk about being a witness by praying in public. I don’t think it is at all. Something was working in my heart right there. The Holy Spirit was working through this family.


Fast forward to the night after. I’m driving home. The sun is setting, a faint moon can be made out in the blue sky. Music plays quietly the background with the faint sound of tires on the road. I was thinking about that family again. What exactly was God trying to tell me? It couldn’t simply be “Tim, you didn’t ask a blessing over your food.” I knew it was much, much deeper than that.

It became pretty obvious to me as I saw that sunset in front of me and I drove towards home — there was a heart issue. I was ungrateful for what God had given me – I wasn’t thankful to God that I was driving a car I own, I wasn’t thankful for my job, my family, a home to return to, a church family, life, salvation, or the cross. I had been moping around worrying about finishing school, whining about having to work, and complaining about the situations I found myself in. The praying family stopped me dead in my tracks.

Thank goodness God is “kind to ungrateful and evil men.” I was acting just like those evil men described in 2 Timothy 3:2, the men who are “lovers of self…arrogant…ungrateful, unholy…[and] holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.” Paul tells us to “avoid such men as these.”

I should not act like these sinful men, but instead should give thanks to God for his infinite mercy to me first of all through the gospel. The truth of the cross does not allow for ungratefulness. I must also thank God for his grace through the Holy Spirit, which is shown to me daily. In addition, I must thank God for common grace – life, sun, rain, oxygen, etc. With these things in mind I should never stop giving thanks to God.

So, it’s not that I broke some rule about praying before my meal. The issue is much deeper than that – things like that can quickly show us a much deeper problem in our lives. My prayer is that none of us will allow ourselves to overlook that truth. Let’s check our hearts.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.

On Mission, Changing the World, and Not Being Able to Do It All

Kevin DeYoung has posted a most helpful and insightful article regarding an issue I see many Christians, both young and old, wrestling with.

I understand there are lazy people out there (and believe me I can be lazy too sometimes). I understand there are lots of Christians in our churches sitting around doing nothing and they need to be challenged not to waste their life (seriously, I love that book and think Piper motivates for radical Christianity in the right way). I understand that many people in the evangelical world are far from generous with their resources and fritter their time away on inane television shows. But even with these important caveats, we really must be much more careful with out urgent and incessant pleas to “do more” for God. It’s the lazy and/or immature preacher who ends every sermon with a call to do more–more evangelism, more discipleship, more prayer, more giving, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. It’s the Seinfeld approach to application: “More anything? More everything!”

I’ve written just a few things relating to this topic, such as “Do Small Things”, “How To Change the World” and “No Little People”. The point is not to do more things for God. Preach and teach the gospel where you are. We are called to be ambassadors, so be ambassadors. I’m praying that these resources and a grounding in God’s word can allow us to overcome the struggle and lie that we have to become Jesus, that we have to “change the world,” when the reality is that we can do absolutely nothing.

Boundless Article: Speech Lessons

A few weeks ago I woke up early and went with some friends to a rougher side of my city, picking up trash and chatting with anyone who wanted to talk.

It seems insignificant to be the nameless group of random college students picking up smashed water bottles, cigarette packages, empty vodka bottles and wet cardboard. But as I walked 29th street and the surrounding area, I thought about what I was saying through my actions on that chilly, overcast day.

If I had driven through the neighborhood the day before and looked out my window, I would have been a little disgusted, afraid and unmoved. But as I leaned over to pick up a piece of wet cardboard and put it in my trash bag, I knew for certain that my outlook and my heart were changing from disdain to love.

What I didn’t realize was that what I learned on the streets that day was a lesson that would start changing my life. A lesson that taught me that biblical communication is more than just spoken words — and it all starts in my heart.

//Read the Rest…//

Dying In Our Devotion

David Platt: SBC Pastors Conference 2009 from Todd Thomas on Vimeo.

I just came back from a foreign country where I had the amazing opportunity to share the gospel with an unreached people group. I watched this video the other evening, and although it has been talked about quite a bit around the internet, I wanted to make sure that you had the opportunity to watch this incredible message from David Platt. It will convict, challenge, and change you.