Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Divine Appointments

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:16-17)

How did you celebrate Memorial Day? Many people had to work. Some spent time with friends or family. Some had cookouts. Others may have attended memorial services in cemeteries or watched parades through towns and cities.

For so many of us, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer. It ushers in a time of vacations, days by the pool, no school for the kids, and many other images we hold dear when the days get longer. However, while there is no harm in all of this, it is important to realize that there have been men and women who died defending the freedoms we enjoy. Not only do we need to take the time to remember the sacrifices they made, but we also need to remember their families.

In churches across America, if Memorial Day was mentioned, it probably was accompanied by a statement about Jesus laying down His life for our freedom from sin. That is very true. However, we must also remember that while He was alive, He gave us an incredible example of how to live.

Have you ever thought about how Jesus inserted Himself into people’s lives? He interrupted funerals, interfered with people at work, and stopped huge crowds to speak to one person. Jesus might have been considered rude by today’s standards. However, when He showed up, everything changed for the people He encountered.

In today’s world, people have the same problems and hurts as they did in Jesus’ time. The difference is that we are too busy to see them. How long has it been since you ministered to a stranger? When was the last time you were actually the “hands and feet” of Christ? A long-time family friend told a story this week that truly spoke to me. The following are her words.

I saw something today that broke my heart wide open. On the way to my sisters, we passed by a home-made memorial in a front yard. A father and mother were standing by it. They had lost a son in war. I slowed down and nodded to them. Hours later, as we returned home and passed by the house again, they were still standing by the memorial. The father had an American flag wrapped tightly in his arms. I am sure this flag accompanied his young son's body home. This time I stopped and told them I was sorry for their loss and appreciated his service and sacrifice. I started reading the memorial and was brought to tears when I read that he had died on May 19, 2011. This father and mother were experiencing their first Memorial Day and were trying to honor their son. Please pray for these families.....we all owe them so much! Today is much more than just cookouts and a day off work.

If you are like me, the first reading of this story moves you because of the pain these parents felt. I can picture the scene in my mind and I hurt with them. However, a closer reading moves me even more. My friend, who is not a pastor, minister or any member of the clergy, did a very Christian thing. She allowed her life to be interrupted by this family, and in turn interrupted theirs.

Jesus never shows up at a time that is convenient for us. He doesn’t plan around our schedules or call us to see when we can fit Him in. Christ interrupts, disrupts, and does anything else He can to get our attention. He may also use us to interrupt others to get their attention. How has Jesus interrupted your life lately? How have you used the ministry of interruption? When you give your life wholly over to Him, expect interruptions!

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18)

1 comment:

Dana Boatwright said...

very touching, so glad I read this,,,,,