October 17, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, is an updated version of his blog first posted on May 17, 2014.  Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“When God ‘Rudely’ Interrupts My Well-Planned Day”

Luke 1:38

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” 

God is no respecter of our schedules. The timing of the angel’s visitation to Mary could not have been any worse for Joseph and Mary (see Matt 1:18-21). To the church, the “virgin birth” has become a doctrine to defend. We make the confession of the creed each Sunday without giving much thought to the statement, “I believe in the virgin birth….” But for Mary, a pregnancy before her wedding could have sent her life into a vicious cycle of shame and rejection by her family, her town, and her community. And yet, she declares, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Her response challenges our contrived notion of what it means to be God’s servants, but her response also reveals to us that we are most blessed when we simply yield to the Lord.

One Sunday, a homeless man walked into our service. He worshipped with us and cordially greeted those who were brave enough to make their way towards him following the service. It was obvious that he had been on the streets. Now, to greet, shake hands, and say cordial greetings with a smile, most of us can do, but what do you do when he says, “I’m hungry. I only have 40 cents in my pocket. And the clothes that I’m wearing are the only things I own. I’ve visited numerous churches and have received the cold-shoulder treatment. And frankly, I’m just so tired.” 

A faithful brother, who leads the Homeless Ministry took charge. Or should I say, the responsibility just landed on his plate? He is a brother just as busy as you and me, who also would much rather “fellowship” with the believers on Sunday. In addition, he, too, had meetings to attend and ministries to oversee. Surely, God could have used him in other ways on that Sunday and not ruin his entire day with this inconvenient visitation, does He? Besides, Homeless Ministry nights were scheduled for MONDAY nights, not Sundays. 

Well, that Sunday, he ended up spending about $90 on some new clothing, dinner, and a food gift card. He also offered to cut the man’s hair, and a hot shower at his place, even as the homeless man took his sweet time. With each passing hour and each cancellation of his plans, Sunday was turning out to be a rather frustrating day. Finally, at 9PM, the man was dropped off at a location where he would find some shelter for the night. Upon reflection, he writes:   

“I had many conflicting and bitter thoughts but was extremely challenged by him and even my own unwillingness to help him joyfully and was wondering whether I (& the American church in general) have become so removed from love and mercy that I’m only willing to go to a certain extent in helping someone before ultimately passing them off. It’s a sad and frustrating truth that I am still wrestling with. Regardless, I believe the Lord is taking me to new levels of obedience, and though I felt incredibly irritated that my whole Sunday was ‘wasted’ (though it really wasn’t, but in a time sense that’s what it felt like), I’m grateful that God is teaching me not only what ‘ministry’ really is, but also of my own rigidity and paralysis to my ‘schedule that I tried to keep to’. It’s funny because I was thinking, I could have really caught up on my Systematic Theology class (learning about God) when God was telling me I’m teaching you about myself through this experience.”

At times, God hardly seems interested in your Google calendar. Does God have the right to interrupt your plans so that he can bless you? When He does, decide on the front end that you will also respond as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant.”  

Prayer: Dear God, I am so afraid to say, “Interrupt me anytime; I am always ready to serve You.” After all these years, I am still unable to let go even though You have been so faithful and good to me.  Be patient with me as You always have been.  Interrupt me anyti . . .  Help me, Lord.  Amen.  

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 14-15

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