It was a normal day for me. I had been working all morning, and when lunch time rolled around, my wife and I drove to the Kroger near our office. It’s our go-to spot for lunch because they have an amazing deli and hot food section. Lately I had been getting some sort of soup or chili, but today I was craving some more substance, so I went to the counter to order my favorite: “I’ll have the brisket meal please.”

At that moment I was functioning on auto-pilot. The deli worker was cutting my brisket and I was staring at my phone. I don’t even remember what I was looking at, but most likely I was scrolling on a social media channel. But all of the sudden, I felt a nudge in my spirit. It was a gentle nudge, but it got my attention. I’ve been trying to practice being more aware of the presence of God all around me for about a year now, and the opportunities to be more tuned in to what He wants to do in each moment. More often than not, I slip back into auto-pilot and am usually in my own head thinking about my own life.

But this time, the Lord got my attention.

I was suddenly awakened to the reality that the deli worker in front of me was loved deeply by my Father. He was a child of God, whether he was walking in that reality yet or not. I put my phone away and became focused on the present moment at hand. I could sense that this deli worker was not having a great day, and he seemed down and out. Then I noticed his wrist watch. I love nice watches and used to collect them for a while. The Lord then spoke to me and said, “Compliment him on his watch.” At about this time the deli worker sealed my food container and nonchalantly said, “Have a nice day.”

I responded and said, “Thanks a lot. And by the way, I love your watch. That’s really sharp. I love watches and I’m always on the lookout for nice ones, and I really like yours.”

The Kingdom of God had just broken into this man’s world for a brief moment.

His demeanor changed instantly. A huge smile broke out on his face and I could sense confidence and joy come over him. He made eye contact with me for the first time and said, “thanks,” as he continued to smile and then walked away.

That was it. Nothing miraculous or extraordinary, but just a simple compliment brought joy into this man’s world and noticeably changed his demeanor. I went on my way and he continued on with his work, but for that brief moment, that deli worker got a little piece of knowing what the perfect King of Heaven is like. Jesus lives in me, and when I allowed myself to respond to His voice and become tuned in to what He wanted to do in that moment, I realized some beautiful truths:

  1.  Jesus notices us and takes time to be present with us. He’s not distracted.
  2.  He cares about the things that we care about, no matter how insignificant they may seem in the grand scheme of things.
  3.  When we speak under His leading, it releases life and changes atmospheres.

It’s a beautiful thing when we can heighten our senses to God’s voice and begin to tune into His agenda for the world around us. If it hadn’t been for me noticing His nudge, then I would have missed this simple opportunity to bring joy to this deli worker who was having a rough day. But because I was responsive and flowed with Him, the King was able to speak through me, and therefore minister His Kingdom in that moment.

How aware are you of God’s presence in your day-to-day moments? When you’re out and about, are you tuned in to His agenda, or are you lost in your own? I know I’m usually the latter, but I’m getting better every day. Ask the Lord to begin opening your eyes to the opportunities all around you to reflect His love and kindness to others. It’s an amazing thing when you begin to see with His eyes and move as He moves.

I encourage you to give a compliment or encouraging word to one stranger you come in contact with this week. Because for all you know, it may be the only time they hear one.

Written by: Nate Ebel