(Thanks to my friends Jay Grelen, the undisputed King of sweet tea, and John Severn, my supplier of great English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish tea, for inspiration on this one).
In the American South, sweet tea (cold, with ice) is so important that some have referred to it as the "house wine" of the region. Every family is almost morally required to skillfully brew the elixir, and in our family, Frances is the sweet tea alchemist.
Her method is very interesting (I'll send it to anyone interested). The tea and the water spend very little time in contact with one another, so little that it's difficult to see how the water is actually flavored by the tea. Somehow the chemical process works, however, and everybody who tries her tea raves about it. Thankfully, including and especially, me.
This causes me to think of how brief contacts with people, sometimes perhaps just once in a lifetime, can be life changing. We've all met someone in a single and fleeting encounter whose influence remains with us, and we've all likely been the same to others. The result may be good or bad, and the effect does not seem commensurate with the brevity of the moment and the contact.
Consider the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in this regard. It's striking to realize that many of the Gospel accounts with people He encountered involve relatively small amounts of time in their physical presence. He saw them for a few moments, they were touched in some blessed way, and life was never the same. A moment became prelude for eternal glories that will echo and resound in the blessed ones' hearts and in their testimonies. Perhaps in Heaven we will hear the stories. "I was there when He was baptized... I heard His Sermon on the mount... I was in a crowd of thousands, and He looked right into my eyes... I saw Him give sight to a blind man. I was that blind man!... I barely touched the hem of His garment and He healed me... I saw Him bleeding and dying, and I heard Him praying, Father, forgive them... I was there after His resurrection and saw the wounds on His hands and feet... I saw Him for the first time when He ascended to Heaven. I wept in that moment."
Just a moment. Just a word. Just a smile. Just a touch. Just one look into the face of the Lord Jesus. That's all it took to change time and eternity for those so blessed. We do well to consider this because believers are now "the face of the Lord Jesus" to our world. We never know what those brief and "chance" encounters with people will mean to them because the living Christ dwells and walks in us (II Corinthians 6:16). Moments matter, and our God is willing and able to infuse fleeting moments with the glory of forever.
Let us expect that this very day may offer opportunity to be the living temple into which some needy heart may seemingly do little more than glance. The Light shining therein may nevertheless fill that heart, or prepare it to be filled. Indeed, I am sure that in Heaven people will come up to us and tell us that just a moment in our presence somehow became an open doorway into God's eternal presence. Doubtless on golden streets we will fall to our knees and faces together, giving glory to the One who needs but a moment to transform forever.
"For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night."