Whether I am hunting or fishing, there are two family-run diners I love to stop at. One is about 30 miles north of me and the other is just down the hill from my house. I have been getting my cup of tea or an early morning breakfast at these two places for the past 28 years. The one just down the street is called “Pete’s Sandwich Shop”, the other is the “Hope Diner”.
Pete’s has been run by the Agnestopolos family for over 100 years. I never met those who started it but their daughter, Jean, (age 87), and their son, John (age 78) were running it from the time I first went there in 1986. In fact Jean never married and has lived above the diner her whole life. I guess you could say it is her life, and she loves it. She and John still help out, but the place has been turned over to John’s son, Mike who made a few minor upgrades. However, things are still pretty much as they have been since I first walked through the doors and that’s what I love about it.
Change has not come easy or fast at Pete’s and this is part of its charm. When you pass through the door you enter into another world. You see old friends, hear familiar voices and you feel like you have just stepped into the past. In fact, it was “just” remodeled”, according to Jean, “when the boys came home”. In case you missed it, that is a wonderful reference to the boys coming home after World War 2. The posters, post cards and pictures in the hand-made glass-topped booth tables are vintage. The hand-made pine paneling on the walls is vintage and most of those who eat there are vintage as well.
Over time you become part of the family at Pete’s and you hear every bit of news about our town that is really important. You know who died, who married, who had kids or who finally moved away. You hear the world’s problems being talk about and the experts there even know how to solve most of them. Here, everyone is known by their first name and a few of us have nick names. I happened to be one who picked up a nick name and was soon known to everyone as Rev. (short for Reverend Emmons). Not that I have even called myself that, but it happened all because John and Jean are Greek and they respected my call to ministry. Thus one day as I arrived for breakfast before hitting a favorite trout stream, John said “good morning Rev., you want the usual?” and the name stuck. From that moment on I was forever “Rev.”
However, this 100 year old stream of continuity was nearly upset when I first began to go there. Out of ignorance I asked for a cup of green tea, to which Jean explained, “oh, we have never had that here, just black tea or coffee”. After being told that a dozen or more time I finally got the picture. Green tea is not on the menu so get over it and move on. However, after building a friendship over several years I began to ask if they might ever consider selling a cup of green tea. Once again Jean explained they had never sold it and that was that.
For me this presented a challenge. I knew there had to be a way for the green tea change to happen and I was on a mission to discover it. Thus, one day I ventured into uncharted waters. Just to nudge things in the right direction, I bought a box of expensive green tea, took it with me to Pete’s and before I ordered I handed it to Jean. She laughed, thanked me and graciously put it behind the counter.
To everyone’s surprise, I proceeded to order a cup of green tea, two eggs and two pieces of rye toast, to which she said, “Today it so happens we do have green tea Rev. I would be happy to get it”. When I got up to pay, sure enough, their it was on the hand-written bill, “one cup of green tea, two eggs and two pieces of rye toast”. History had been made! Buying back my own tea one cup at a time was a small price to pay for the change that had come. From that day to this, you can get a hot cup of green tea at Pete’s, and for me each cup is the sweet taste of victory.
The point being made here is simple. When God wants to make a change in your life, He knows exactly how to make that happen. Let me assure you that He will not give up until it comes to pass. Every wall of resistance you may put in place, every excuse you may have, simply delays the inevitable outcome. God will continue to deal with you until He has His way and you become the new and improved model. You may not be selling green tea at the moment God asks for it, but He knows there is a good reason why you need to. Trust me when I say He will not give up until green tea is on your menu!
Don’t be surprised if God shows up in your life, like I did at Pete’s, and hands you the very thing you have needed all along, but were unwilling do for yourself. In the end He knows what’s best and you will be a much better person for it! When God hands you your box of “green tea” , my prayer is that you will have the good sense to accept it and enjoy the change. After all, He does what He does because He loves you. Why not relax, accept that fact and enjoy the blessing and benefit it brings. You might be shocked at how much you will begin to enjoy a life of change and the cup of green tea it brings.