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I live in Chesterfield, England. Today I went into the town with my one year-old daughter Zoe .It is a 45 minute walk along a lovely route. The sun was shining and we achieved the errand we’d gone to do, but despite all of that I felt pretty flat. Do you ever have those days when you’re just a bit down?

On the way out of town is a humble bakery that we were walking past. A momentary glance at the sugary goodness in the window prompted me to pop in and pick up something for my wife Rach (or was it the Holy Spirit prompting me?).

It is a little shop with a glass counter so you can see the cakes and pastries within. There was just one lady working there and she was wearing an apron covered in flour. These goodies had been made in store, most likely by her own hands.

I asked the lady if they took card payments and she said sadly they didn’t. I’m pretty sure my face fell at that moment. She asked what I would like and I said I’d hoped to get a tasty something for my wife. Then, she said I could just take it and pay some other time. WHAT?!?! I thought. I asked where the nearest cash machine was so I could get some money to pay, as I don’t go that way every day, but she insisted that I didn’t need to bother. This was a very welcome surprise as you’ll imagine. I said I’d never experienced kindness like that in a shop before, to which she replied with a smile, “Well you’ve obviously been going to the wrong shops then haven’t you!”

I was blown away by this kindness. I imagine I probably licked my lips as I began to make a choice, and then she added, “If it’s for your wife don’t just get her something small. Get her something special”. So, next thing I knew I was being handed a giant egg custard tart, nicely wrapped and ready to bring a smile to Rach (and thankfully Zoe and I helped her eat it too). 

Of course I will go back and pay the £1.60 for the tart one day soon, and of course I wasn’t being given it, but I was still being trusted by a complete stranger, whose kindness, warmth and smile had made my day and transformed how ‘flat’ I’d felt before. I don’t know the kind lady’s name or even if she is a believer, although I will pray for here and I intend to learn as I return for more egg custards!

The phrase that stuck with me and gave me joy is, “You’ve been going to the wrong shops then”. I’ve been in many shops but had never found what I found today. It made me wonder, what have I been missing out on, that was always there, because I’d been going to the wrong places? I’m not talking about bakeries anymore but my relationship with God. One of the Inspire core values is ‘Seeking Growth’ because God invites us to grow in our relationship with him and gives us means to do that. But how often do each of us seek fulfilment, meaning and even purpose in places, things or even people that are not good for us? I know that in my own discipleship I want to put Jesus first. Sometimes I do, but at other times I don’t.

Psalm 63 begins with, ‘You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you’… I want more of God, but do I seek him earnestly? Do I actively thirst for him? Verse 5 tells me I will be fully satisfied ‘as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you‘. God satisfies, if we are willing to look for him. Which reminds me of a truth a visitor to one of our churches gave us when they said they believed that God was saying to us, “I’m here, if you want me!” 

Kindness was found in a tiny bakery which put a spring back in my step. I was no longer in Chesterfield – I was in ‘blessed-erfield’. The kindness of a stranger, who may not even be a believer, helped me long for more of God and prompted me to pray for her. I wonder how you can show kindness to someone and help them be in ‘blessederfield’? How you can actively long for more of God today?

Matt, and his wife Rachel, are Inspire Missioners based in the UK. Besides eating egg custards 🙂 they give all their time to being Missioners. 

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