You're at a Starbucks you never go to, and the barista says, "Hey gurrl, meeting the whole gang today?" But you have no idea what he's talking about. Never seen him or "the gang" before in your life.
Or you're in line at the grocery store, and the cashier asks you, "How's your mom?" Uh, do you know my mom?
And in both cases, you find yourself saying, "No gang today, just me." Or, "My mom's doing great! Thanks for asking." It's just sometimes easier to let these things slide.
Recently, a gal at church mistook me for the worship leader: "Oh, look who we have here... it's our worship leader!"
And as much as I wanted to say, "YES. I am her. The one who sings real smooth and raspy and wears the prettiest necklaces and always says the nicest prayers, etc, etc..." I just couldn't, because impersonating a worship leader has to be in the Bible somewhere, and I'm sure it didn't end well.
So instead, I assured her I've never before led people in song. And then I thought - just thought - to myself, "But can the worship leader do THIS?!?" And by "this" I mean a very impressive karate kick to the air followed by 12 cartwheels. (Who's the worship leader now? She still is.)
But, being a worship leader... what a nice thing to imagine. Wait. Not a nice thing to imagine, because one of my top three nightmares is singing in public. The other two are huge waves and forgetting to attend a class I registered for in college.
(When does that dream stop recurring?)
At any rate, I'm not the only one who's been mistaken for someone else. Steven Colbert for the Full House dad. Elijah Wood for the Harry Potter guy. And... Jesus for the gardener.
As the story goes in John 20, Mary Magdalene made her way to Jesus' tomb early that first Easter morning. And as predicted, she couldn't find him inside the tomb - just a couple of angels were seated where his body had been.
She then turned herself around, all tears and snot bubbles, and sees this guy, a guy she thought was the gardener. But when he said her name - "Mary" - she instantly recognized the comforting voice with its loving tone as one belonging to her Savior.
(Why the gardener? Was it his leaf blower? Straw hat and SPF 50 shirt? Did old-timey Jerusalem have an overly-landscaped look about it, like south Orange County?)
Really? Mistaking Jesus for the gardener? But let's go easy on Mary. She may not have been too far off. After all (get ready for some serious Spurgeon bits), it's been said, "We are not going against the harmonies of nature when we are 'supposing him to be the gardener.' Do we not all need watering and tending by his constant gracious care? "
And more specifically to my own slow-to-catch-on plight, Spurgeon has also said, "You may be a slow-growing shrub by nature... (but) be this your joy, you are in the garden of the Lord, and 'supposing him to be the gardener,' he will make the best of you. You cannot be in better hands."
So, whether you're at the coffee shop or grocery store - mistaking people left and right like a little kid grabbing the hand of the wrong mom - take heart, you cannot have grabbed a better hand than when you're in the garden of the Lord, for he will make the best of you.