I had two back-to-back meetings at a local Starbucks. But the store computers were down. It wasn’t a heart break for me, as I don’t go for the coffee. (I have never had a cup of coffee, but I typically order something because I’m meeting in their space.)
I ended up sitting outside on a nice morning waiting for my appointments. The baristas had set up a couple of urns of free coffee for their regular patrons by way of apology. And they posted two large white signs explaining that the store was closed. One sign right on the door; the other off to the side.
As I waited, I watched. Time after time, someone would park, get out with their smartphone in their hand, trying to place their order, making their way to the door. With eyes on the phone, they’d get to the door and pull. It wouldn’t open. They’d try the other door. It was also locked. They’d look back and forth between the door and their phone. And then they would notice.
Coffee urns outside. No one inside. And two big white signs.
Some would stand there looking puzzled . . . or a bit annoyed. Some shrugged their shoulders and left a bit dejected. A couple of them mumbled under their breath: “That explains why I couldn’t order on line.” And I realized that the problem was rather simple:
They had a particular expectation about what they would find when they drove up and, as a result of that expectation, they failed (initially) to pay attention to what was so very obvious.
I realized that simple problem sometimes is mine when I approach a passage of Scripture. I come to a text with a pre-conceived expectation of what the text is about. And I can end up reading without paying attention to what really might be very obvious in the passage. I just overlook what’s there.
I stand before the passage feeling a bit puzzled . . . or a bit annoyed. I can end up shrugging and turning to a passage that doesn’t present such an unexpected challenge.
It would be better to find a way to set aside my pre-conceived conclusions, pay attention to what is right there in front of me, and just read the text. I might just find some wonderful refreshment waiting for me within the pages.
“Open my eyes, that I might behold wonderful things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18