48: Not Interested

48: Not Interested

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Not Interested

Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your purpose.


“No, no. Thank you, but I’m not interested.” I hung up the phone, a bit annoyed by the persistence of the telemarketing representative. “I’m not interested,” I had said. I wondered why that had not been enough to discourage the telephone barrage.

My thoughts suddenly centered on those words—“not interested.” It hadn’t been so long ago that I had said that very same phrase in regard to my singing schedule. Many concerts and seminars had occupied my time so completely that I was exhausted. I wanted to take a week off and just stay home.

A phone call was my first hint that God had other plans. The pastor of a church in Crane, Texas called to invite me to come and minister in his church. He wanted me to sing a concert and to share my testimony the very next Sunday night. I did happen to have the date open, but I was really counting on worshiping in my church that Sunday—in the pew, not from the platform.

“I’m just really not interested,” I had said. “It would be such a long drive, and I just got back from a weeklong revival. Maybe another time?” The pastor accepted my regrets and we hung up.

An hour later, I answered the phone only to hear that same pastor’s voice once again. He had contacted several businessmen in the church and asked them to underwrite my plane ticket. Cheerfully and full of expectation, he offered to send me this plane ticket if I would reconsider coming to his church. “See?” he prodded. “God wants you to come to Crane.”

I was not happy. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to sing. I didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to minister. Hadn’t he heard me say I wasn’t interested? But, in my heart, I knew that he was right. I knew that it wasn’t coincidence that I was free the Sunday the church wanted me to come. I was sure that the plane ticket was God’s confirmation that I was to go to Crane. In fact, I had felt it in my spirit all along, but I was hoping that God would let me slide by.

God doesn’t work that way. Never has, never will. It’s not his way to let his children slide—not when there’s a need to be met—not when there’s a miracle just beyond the turn in the road, or in this case, the aisle of the airplane.

The crowd in the Crane church was small that Sunday night, probably less than two hundred. I sang. I shared. I prayed with a little girl at the altar. Then I went home. “What was the point?” I asked myself. “There was no great outpouring, no deluge of souls at the altar.” It had been a meaningful but quiet service. Maybe I should have stayed home after all.

A month went by. Two months. Three. On June 5th, I routinely looked through my mail. “Hmmm. A letter from Crane,” I mused. “Why won’t those people leave me alone? I’ve never really been interested.” I opened the letter and began to read.

Dear Elaine,

When you gave your concert in Crane back in April, our twelve-year-old daughter, Sabrina, went to hear you. I’m sorry to say my husband and I didn’t go. When she came back, she told me how beautiful it was and how much it meant to her . . . On the night of April 27, a tornado struck just as we were trying to leave our trailer home, and it picked our car up, setting it down on her little body. She was killed instantly . . . Today, I was going through her Bible and near the back of it, she had written, ‘Elaine helped me find God.’ I wanted to share this with you and tell you how thankful I am for fine people like you who give their testimony in song and other ways and touch the hearts of little girls like our precious daughter.

I bowed my head in shame. Tears began to pour down my face, down my neck, and even to my chest, wetting my shirt. I dropped to my knees and ultimately lay on my face before the Lord, begging his forgiveness. How callous I had been! How selfish!

I was changed after reading that letter—forever unequivocally changed. And I was never again able to so frivolously close the door on an invitation to give of myself, no matter how tired I thought I was. Sometimes, God brings about his miracles through his people.

Not interested? How could I ever have said that? What could ever be more exciting and fulfilling than being part of God’s timing? I was a live extension of his hand, offering the answer to a child’s question that none of us even knew she had. Later, the discovery of a simple commemoration of that night brought comfort to a mother who laid her child’s body in a grave but found solace in the thought that she was really in the arms of God.

I had said I wasn’t interested. Fortunately, God was, and always will be.

~Eloise Elaine Ernst Schneider

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