Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7 ESV)
(Romans 15:7 ESV)
Friend to Friend
Nestled 50 feet off Highway 17 in Pawley’s Island, S.C., rests C.J.’s Beach Club. For years, Steve and I eyed the clapboard building tucked in the grove of myrtle trees, but it wasn’t the sort of place we would tend to visit. One weekend it was just the two of us on a short holiday at the beach, and we were feeling adventurous. Steve turned the car onto the crushed-oyster-shell parking lot of C.J’s, and we decided to taste the local nightlife of the coastal South.
C.J.’s was a dance club. Now, before you click delete in shock that we would darken the doors of such a place, I want you to stay with me a moment. We grew up doing a dance called “The Shag,” which is like an East Coast swing. This was shag night at C.J.’s, and the disc jockey spinning the 45s was about 75 years old and had a striking resemblance to my mother-in-law.
Steve and I felt a bit uncomfortable as we walked through the doors and noted the neon signs advertising various drinks, but we were committed. All eyes turned toward the new couple as we walked across the threshold…there was no turning back. The smell of popcorn laced with cigarette smoke filled the air as middle-aged couples shuffled their feet to old beach music under the spinning disco ball.
We each ordered a Coke and found a seat. It wasn’t two minutes before a couple wandered over to our table and sat down.
“Hi, I’m Tom,” the forty-something man said as he extended his hand to Steve. “And this is my wife, Julie.”
“Hi,” Julie chimed in.
“Hi, Julie. Hi, Tom,” we returned.
“We’ve never seen you here before,” Tom continued. “Do you live around here?”
“No, we’re from Charlotte. Just down here on vacation,” Steve answered. “What about you two? Are you from around here?”
“We live in Georgetown just down the road,” Tom replied. “We come up here to shag on Friday nights. Most of the people in here are regulars. We all know each other. Like one big family.”
After 20 minutes of conversation, we knew each other’s occupations, children’s ages, college alma mater, favorite hobbies, and various branches of their family tree.
“See you on the dance floor,” Tom called as they said their goodbyes and made their way to the next table to visit. As soon as they walked away, another couple sat down, and the same friendly banter ensued. Then another couple…then another. By the time we left C.J.’s, we felt as though we had been welcomed into the family. We had walked in as wary strangers and walked away as warm friends.
“Y’all come back when you’re down this way again,” several called out as we made our way to the door.
As we drove away in silence with the sound of oyster shells crunching under our tires, sadness washed over me. “I have been in many churches in my time, but never one that was as welcoming and warm as those folks were tonight,” I whispered. “We have a lot to learn.” Steve felt the same.
No one said to the men and women in the dance club, “Now turn and greet someone around you.” It was simply spontaneous, genuine interest.
What is going to attract the world to the church and ultimately a relationship with Jesus Christ? Genuine interest, caring, and concern. More than door-to-door canvassing, modern facilities, or the latest media-savvy services, relationships are the net that brings in a bounty of souls.
Like parched, cracked ground opening wide for a drop of rain, spiritually parched men and women are longing for a drop of love to quench their thirsty souls. Will they look for the relief among those who have the living water, or look elsewhere because we just can’t seem to get along? Jesus has what people are truly longing for. Many can’t define the longing or who put it there. But we know—and we have the privilege of telling them! That’s the power of a woman’s words.
Heavenly Father, I want to be known as a woman who welcomes others. Show me someone today that needs an encouraging word or a hug—someone who needs to feel that she or he belongs.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Flip through the New Testament and notice how many times Jesus initiated conversations. Here are two to get you started: Zaccheus in the tree, the Samaritan woman at the well.
More from the Girlfriends
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Sharon’s re-released and updated version of her best-selling book and Bible study guide, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others are hot off the press. They include new content, including a chapter on the power of a woman’s words to her adult children…it’s complicated! Perfect for your women’s ministry’s next Bible study!
Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. Learn how to
- exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
- recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
- overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
- tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
- stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold into the power of the Holy Spirit