I have been reading Jan Karon's latest book in her Father Tim series. There is so much to like about these books, including the fact that they teach us much about life, and often challenge our beliefs while strengthening our faith.
In Karon's book, "In The Company of Others" she takes us back to Ireland with Father Tim and his wife Cynthia. During one of their conversations Cynthia talks about a teacher she had as a young girl, and how this teacher gave her encouragement and love when she needed it most. She says, "I think she was my first taste of God".
There are always people in our lives who give us a "first taste of God". Often it is our parents, but there are those who need to find it elsewhere....or does it find them? When I read this sentence, I thought about who gave me my first taste of God and one person that came to mind very quickly was a pastor from my church ~ Pastor Hauge. He was a gentle man who radiated love and kindness. I can still visualize him handing me one of my first Confirmation papers back with a bright and shiny A written across the top. He quietly praised me for my good work and gave my much needed self esteem a boost. He is my first memory of church, which came to be my second home. He was in many ways my first taste of God. He also worked behind the scenes to encourage my mom to let me live with my oldest sister and her family. You see, my mom was a practicing alcoholic when I was a child, and I was in need of a safe place to live. Years later I ran into Pastor Hauge in a church far from our original home town. He asked me about my mother. I was able to tell him she had stopped drinking when I was 20, our relationship was restored, and more importantly my mother was healthy and whole again. Pastor Hauge dropped his head and shook it from side to side. He sighed deeply and said with the wisdom and humility of an 85 yr old Christian man, "I gave up on your mother, but God never did!" Those words were a taste of God too. God brought us back together and reminded us both that he hears our prayers and is faithful.
So, I ask, who in your life has given you "a first taste of God"? Have you been that first taste of God for someone else? Every small and simple gesture can be used by God to show His love to someone who needs it. He desire to use His children to be the first taste of God to others.
Lord, keep us open to being used by you, and if I may so humbly ask, let me be the first taste of God to someone else. Amen
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