Here’s a Christmas story that’s definitely worth listening to. It reminds us of the joy of sharing with others.
During this holiday season may we remember what the scripture says. When we give to the least of these, we are giving to God.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
1 Sam 9:1-10:13 details the story of Saul, Israel’s first king. The story starts in an unusual way. The donkeys belonging to Saul’s father, Kish, escape and he sends Saul and a servant to go off to find them. They search high and low and yet come up empty. Finally, as a last resort they decide to inquire of the prophet Samuel in a nearby town.
Just the day before, the LORD came to Samuel and said, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him leader over my people Israel…” (1 Samuel 9:16).
It all happens as the LORD said. Saul comes to Samuel and Samuel anoints him as king over Israel. And how did it all begin? Lost donkeys. An interruption that was “wasting” Saul’s time.
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like that for us? The thing which we don’t want to do, that which seems to be distracting us, ends up being a step towards our life goal, the fulfillment of a dream, or the realization of another piece of God’s purpose coming together in your life.
So, how do we deal with interruptions? How do we respond to those things which are unplanned and unforeseen?
Throughout the gospels we see that this was constantly happening in the life of Christ. A woman came up to him on his way to raising a dead little girl to life and he stopped and healed her. Two blind men call out, interrupting his journey, and Jesus stops to heal them. People bring their babies to be blessed by him, interrupting what he’s doing, and he stops all to bless them. This happens again and again in the life of Christ.
So what kept him grounded, able to answer definitively “yes” or “no” to these opportunities that came his way? One word: Prayer.
Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Jesus prayed and sought direction from the Lord. He was guided in those quiet moments and able to discern where God would have him go.
In the next verses, when the disciples came to rush him off into the activity of those who were seeking him, his answer was, no, its time for us to move on to the nearby villages. How did Jesus know that this interruption was not for him? From the time he had spent with God.
“It has been the interruptions to my everyday life that have most revealed to me the divine mystery of which I am a part. All of these interruptions presented themselves as opportunities; invited me to look in a new way at my identity before God. Each interruption took something away from me; each interruption offered something new.”
- Henri Nouwen
As we approach today, may God be our guide through the expected and the unexpected happenings. In prayer may we hear where and when and how to go about living now, seizing each moment as what it is – a gift from God.
-Pastor Tara VinCross
Check out the wonderful things that God did through Philadelphia Youth Challenge this summer. Watch the summer in review video here.
This was a dream that was realized through the prayers, love and faith of the entire church body.
Together we say,
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
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