Stubbington, near Portsmouth, was recently CVM’s port of call for yet another fun-filled, packed out Regional Day. The night before a Regional Day, the team usually stays in a Travel Inn close by to chill out, eat food and frequent a local pub. This evening was no exception.
What followed a good meal of ribs in barbecue sauce was a nice glass of Baileys and some good friendly chatter. As Carl and I sat there on one side of the pub, parallel to us was another duo of mates. They were debating giving up smoking and suddenly we became involved in the conversation. As time went on, not only did we get an offer from one of these blokes for a drink, but ended up talking about life and the challenges brought on by the recession.
The conversation moved from politics to religion, which should rarely be brought together over a few tipples of the strong stuff. But things didn’t go the way you think they might have.
One of our newly made friends began opening up and telling Carl and I about how he was struggling to make ends meet He explained how he was having to downsize his business and make a real lifestyle change. He was finding it hard as the main breadwinner to have failed to bring in enough to keep his family in the life they were accustomed to.
He soon concluded his thoughts with: “It’s all about the money”. Carl and I simultaneously replied “No its not, it’s about family’.
We didn’t pull any punches in mentioning that we were Christians and that we ran a national men’s ministry. We carried on making our faith known and being open to the Holy Spirit as I shared my failings in business as well.
And as a man’s man, I decided to talk to him about Mary Poppins. When I was in London with my family a while back, we caught the West End show of the Disney feature film live on stage. And what jumped out for me whilst struggling to make ends meet and being in so much debt, was that I could take refuge in a scene from this show. The scene is when the father loses his job due to the children causing havoc at the bank and then realizing that they are about to lose everything. But suddenly, the reassurance of the mother comes in the middle of a particular harrowing moment. She quite boldly exclaims that: “As long as we are together, that is all that counts”.
This scene helped me through the time of uncertainty. And amazingly, it somehow hit home for the bloke in this bar who was struggling. He opened his eyes to the fact that there was more to life than money and material things.
We mentioned Jesus on numerous occasions that night and now have to leave it with God to follow it through. But hopefully, with Carl and I unashamedly making Him known with everything we do and say, we planted a seed in this chap’s heart. We now pray that something has happens because we didn’t back down from the basic stuff of Jesus. We hope that what we said, even though it included a scene from a fairytale, changes his life. Only God knows. But we do that know that Jesus loved to use stories to point people to the truth, so let’s not be afraid to do the same.