“You are ruining my life!” (Please read in a whiny, crying voice – maybe even with some exaggerated eye rolling while throwing head back.) Have you ever said that to anyone? Maybe your parents? Maybe God? My daughter said that to me during the first week of kindergarten because I said she had to go to bed earlier than she wanted.
This week I had the privilege of attending Bayside Community Church in Sarasota, Florida. The current sermon series “Once Upon a Christmas” is in the second week and Lead Pastor Randy Bezet spoke about the story of Christmas from Joseph’s perspective. I won’t recount the whole message here – you will need to go to their website for that which, by the way, would be an excellent idea.
We have done a superior job of sanitizing the first century event of Jesus’ birth with genteel cards covered in glittery stars, smiling babies, sparkling white sheep and well-dressed wisemen with golden gifts. But does that truly represent the impact of the angel’s announcement to Mary and Joseph? Does that help us understand the difficulty they encountered from friends, family or community?
The entire event was scandalous of epic proportions. An unwed pregnant woman who deserved to be stoned and a young man who wanted to quietly divorce his fiance’ for adultery. From our perspective, it may seem that Mary and Joseph would have the fleeting thought their lives were being ruined. Why would God ruin their lives?
Step back a bit…do you suppose Mary or Joseph ever prayed that God would use them? Had God stirred their hearts, were they crying out to be a part of God’s bigger purposes? Perhaps they had lain awake at night, looking at the stars through the open window, wondering how they fit into God’s plan. Would the anticipated Messiah come in their lifetime? Perhaps this young couple even shared the vision of not just being alive but of truly living.
Recently I received a note from a friend. She has been raising children and excelling at being a stay at home mom. During this season of life she has also excelled at leading a girl’s Wednesday evening Bible study for 4th and 5th graders and a Sunday morning class for girls in 6th-8th grade.
She continually asks God to use her gifts and talents. You see, for years she worked at a realty agency with management responsibilities and has always imagined that someday those talents would be used again. As a matter of fact, she narrowed down the possibility of God using her to having a job where she had management responsibilities. That is, until this week. She wrote me a note and said, “…the children’s minister shared how much she loves what is happening with the GEMS ….we are building these girls’ faith and future relationship with God… and it finally hit me…God knows the desires of my heart….I have been using my gifts in the best possible way to share His kingdom…I just had my eyes fixed on the wrong talent!”
I bet there have been times when you, too, have cried out for God to use you, to find a place for you in his grand scheme. And you might have in mind what that means. I know I have. And when he taps me on the shoulder to invite me to be involved, I’m not willing to let him lead me. His plan looks like he’s trying to ruin my life. His idea doesn’t look like I thought it would.
Here’s the wonderful truth! God is not trying to ruin our lives, but he does want to run our lives. The only difference between ruin and run is the “I”. If you take out the “I” in your life, would it be easier to let God run your life? If we aren’t thinking so much about self and how events affect us, would we be more willing to follow his lead? Can we step aside? Can I step aside. Remember…God isn’t trying to ruIn your life, he is trying to run it!
I am challenged by that and I thought you might be too.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26