How does God get your attention?
God is always at work around us, but it is up to us to realize it. The challenge is that we are often so busy that we miss the opportunities God provides us to know Him, to serve Him, to love Him. And, in that process that means that we often miss an opportunity to grow. Maybe you can relate. I know this week I have been given some definite reminders.
I was born in Kansas City and lived there for the first four decades of my life. Now, I am less than a two- hour drive, and because of my teaching, I am there often (each week during the Fall and Spring semesters). So what? Well, “How ‘bout those….CHIEFS?”
Chiefs fans have waited a long time to celebrate like they have this week! It is well reported that the wait between championships was 50 years. Well, in just a few months, I will be 50. My mother was 5 months pregnant with me when the Chiefs won Super Bow IV. So, I have literally been alive for the entirety of that wait (even if I was in the womb for the first few months after the previous title).
And while I may not remember the Chiefs in my first few years, I do have memory of attending my first game in 1976 at age 6 ½, and I have been a fan ever since. So, Sunday was a big day for me, as well as others in Chiefs’ Nation.
I had set aside the time. I had made my plans. Our church was going to host a watch party – our 2nd Annual Food, Football, and Fellowship. We even printed tickets to remind those who came to bring a friend. We had our food. Everything was set.
But then, God used the topic of the posts from the previous two weeks about humility to remind me I am His.
If you read this blog back in November, you know that in a span of two weeks, I had a kidney stone and then a head-on collision with a concrete median due to a patch of ice on a bridge. Both of those events shook me hard. But both involved me – and me only. Both events made me consider others (such as my wife and family) and made me thankful for others (like the medical staff (kidney) and the emergency personnel (wreck), but I walked away with little effect. Thanks be to God!
But last week, the change of plans was the result of others. (For the sake of the integrity of those involved in both incidents, I will be purposely vague in the next couple of paragraphs).
First, I had to make a decision that ultimately resulted in the cancellation of the watch party at the church. My initial involvement in the situation was relatively usual. However, as more information surfaced, I had to make a decision that is still causing me to question what is best. (Thanks to some recent counsel, I believe I made the right decision, but I also need to do more).
Granted, the main inconvenience was that people who may have purchased food were out the money. The church had not been “set up” for the game yet, but I know we had several who were looking forward to watching the game with others – even though “I don’t really like football.”
Second, during the game another situation created a stir. I was watching the game with some friends and something was posted on social media that created quite a distraction for several people. Again, this situation occurred during the Chiefs’ game – a game I had waited 50 years to watch.
Frankly, little could be done in the moment. But it did create a distraction for others, and I knew the responsibility fell to me to work towards a resolution. I did continue to watch the game, and I did celebrate as the Chiefs came from behind, and ultimately won, but in between plays, my focus was not on the game, which is where I had hoped it would be. (I am happy to report, that the situation has partially resolved itself.)
Why do I mention these two incidents?
Well, for the last couple of weeks, I have been posting about the humility of Jesus and Moses, respectively.
Both incidents have required me to be humble. Both incidents have been an opportunity for God to bring me to consider others as I consider myself (Philippians 2.3). The first incident caused me to swallow some pride and do something I had never done, nor thought I would ever do. The second incident forced me to allow a part of my focus to be on those who needed some help instead of giving all of my attention to a game (a GAME!).
Both incidents had an effect on the church. Both may continue to impact our church – for good or bad, the verdict is not yet known. And thus, God reminded me that humility is not something about which we read and/or write; it is a trait by which we must live.
I do not intend for this post to make more of either situation than needs to be made. However, I also do not intend to undersell the potential significance that either situation could have.
Instead, the purpose of this post, is to have us consider how God gets our attention. As a pastor and teacher, I often tell my congregation and students that I must live with the lesson before I present it to others. And when I speak, I hear my words bouncing off of the walls around me and entering back into my ears. And for two weeks, I have been focusing my teaching on humility. And God put that teaching to the test.
Sometimes we do not see God at work until well after the fact. Sometimes we look for Him to work and yet we miss it because He works in an unexpected way. But sometimes, we can see God working in the midst of the situation. Those moments are so great because He is allowing us to see what He wants to do – and what He is doing in and through us. Those moments are not always pleasant, but they are important.
Last week, I concluded the post with these words:
I must do better at thinking of others. I must be better at being humble. The same is likely true for most who will read this post. But knowing what to do and choosing to do it are two different things. We may not announce our humility to the world by our words like Moses did, but we can choose to live in humility as Jesus did. So, the question for this week is virtually the same as it was last week:
Will you choose to live humbly for Jesus?
God’s question to me was: Will you?
I pray my responses were correct.
When God prompts you, I pray your responses will be too.