November 14, 2019

Brian is chair of our Trustees Committee. He’s both an engineer and attorney so he’s relatively intelligent.

At Tuesday night’s Trustee meeting, it was decided that Brian would update the congregation this coming Sunday on some pressing maintenance issues. This means that Brian will have to go to three worship services.

When I pointed out how blessed Brian would be by listening to my sermon three times in a row, I saw excitement and joy wash across his face as he struggled to find words to convey how happy he was. Then he said, “It’s my penance.” That was the moment I realized the limits of Brian’s vocabulary.

I am certain he didn’t mean say, “It’s my penance,” but instead, “It’s my privilege.” This got me thinking.

The logic I use in twisting Brian’s mean, hurtful, cruel, callous, unpleasant, and unkind description of hearing my sermon three times in a row is the exact same thing I do with God.

God says to forgive, but what I hear is it is alright for me to hold a grudge. God says I am to care, but what I hear is that it is okay to turn my back on someone in need. God tells me to be humble, but what I hear is that I can think and act like I am the most important person on the planet. God says pray, but what I hear is that I can say a prayer if I don’t have anything better to do. God says read the Bible, but what I hear is that I can read the Bible after I’ve finished reading the latest Tom Clancy novel. God says share, but I hear it is okay to hoard everything. God says to be as concerned about others as I am about myself, but what I hear is God takes care of those who take care of themselves. The way I twist God’s words goes on and on and on….

This is what I know. God has never asked my opinion or negotiated with me. God tells me to forgive, care, be humble, pray, read the Bible, share, and be compassionate because it is the best way for me to live. Nowhere in the Bible is the term, “If you don’t have anything better to do.”

So if you are as self-consumed as I am, this devotional’s for you. Do not twist God’s words to fit your agenda or for the sake of convenience. Open your ears, eyes, mind, and heart to hear God speak. And when you do, whatever God tells you, do it. That’s why you are here.

This was the lesson that Eli taught Samuel in the temple at Shiloh by teaching him the prayer: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:9)

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me hear you speak. Give me the wisdom, strength, and resolve to always follow your call. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

God made you for a reason. And when God tells you what your reason for being is, don’t hesitate, procrastinate, or protest. It’s your purpose.

Also, I ask that you pray for Brian. It is clear that he uses words he does not understand.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins