Panera as My Pulpit

You never really know where God will assign you to work on any given day. Sure you have a designated work place if you work outside your home, but when you ask God to use you, he often times will send you on a mission without the aid of Garmin or Mapquest; instead, you’ll have to rely on God’s Positioning System (GPS) to find your way to work.

Last week, I stopped at Panera after work to get a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a soft dinner roll. I must’ve missed lunch that day because all I could think about as I drove home was the piping hot bowl of soup and that delicious soft dinner roll. In hindsight, I know that this was a divine appointment rather than a hunger call from the pit of my rumbling tummy.

When I walked in, I said hello to everyone as I always do. For some reason, it was slow, and I was the only one in line with three cashiers ready to take my order, so I chose the one in the middle. I saw the manager and exchanged pleasantries with her before placing my order. One of the cashiers tracked me as I walked from one counter to the next to wait for my order.  I smiled at her and scrolled through my WordPress Reader until my number was called.

I headed for the door, and the manager (whose name I should know by now) stopped me to chat a little longer. That young cashier who had been tracking me had made her way to the area where her manager and I were chatting. By now I had a feeling that she had something to say to me, and she did, so I initiated the conversation.

Me: How are you today?

Cashier: I’m good. I just graduated today.

Me: Really? That’s wonderful! Congratulations!

Cashier: Thanks. [She seemed pleased to be part of the conversation.]

Me: So, what are your plans?

Cashier: I want to be an ESOL Teacher.

Me: Is that right? What an admirable career choice!

Cashier: [Looking down at my school ID] Where do you teach?

Me: I work at … as an Assistant Principal.

Cashier: Oh. [almost apologetic] That’s cool.

Me: It is cool.  I still get to teach a little — just not in the classroom. Becoming a teacher was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Cashier: That’s cool. I really want to help kids who come to America for a better opportunity.

Me: We need more people like you entering our field. You won’t get rich, but your reward is priceless.

I left a few seconds later with my bag of deliciousness, knowing that the Spirit led me to Panera that day to minister to this young woman who tracked me down to share her good news. The really good news is that my obedience led to that divine appointment — not my hunger pangs. If we allow the Spirit to lead us, rest assured that he will also equip us with the resources to do his work.


Lord, thank you for using me each day to do your will. Even when I can’t see the impact of my obedience due to my limited view, you see the big picture. May I continue to keep my mind stayed on you so that I  feel the tug and hear your voice above the noise of this world. My only goal is to know you more — more or you and less of me. That’s how it needs to be. Amen.




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