3 May 2017
“After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah. At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.” (Luke 4:38-44)
Receiving Whatever God Wants to Give Us
Perhaps out biggest assignment, when it comes to God, is to receive what God is regularly offering us. That might be healing (see above), that might be guidance, it is very often love and affirmation, it is now and then an admonition or a rebuke (see above), it might be the peace that God wants to offer (see John 20:21, 26), it might be a call (go to the land that I will show you... go to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt... allow the Holy Spirit to come upon you, conceive and bear a son, and name him Jesus... be the one to make the first move with the relative that you haven’t spoken to in 10 years...), it might be a the gift of seeing a sunrise or a sunset or a goldfinch or a bighorn sheep.
God is nothing if not loving and giving and generous. God is always operating in these ways. God is reaching out and giving of God’s self. Jesus demonstrated this while he was on this earth, and again during his resurrection appearances.
The issue for us is to receive what God is offering. And many times, we put obstacles in the way. See if any of these resonate for you:
- “I don’t have time to pray.”
- Someone presents a new idea that could involve us, and we say (in one form or another), “That idea is not good!” Or “That will never work!”
- “I just need to buckle down and do this by myself!”
- “It’s not in my nature to ask for help.”
- “God doesn’t really speak to people today.”
- “There’s no way that THIS PERSON could be the voice of God to me!”
- “Who am I that I should do that, Lord? You have the wrong person!”
- “I already know that I am right on this issue. Why seek out God’s voice, or anyone else’s?”
- On some level, I want God to be here for me, but not for everyone else.
- I look down, or straight ahead, or at my phone or my computer, and I don’t see the sky filled with stars or hear the meadowlark or taste how amazing the food is.
God is always sending messages of love, hope, beauty, and guidance. God is always working through other people. God is always calling us to notice someone, to love someone, to forgive someone, or to pray for someone. But we can block the message. We can ignore God’s love. We can be so distracted that we miss the call.
So often, I am like a wide receiver who doesn’t even turn around to see if the quarterback is throwing the ball to me. I am like the 7-year-old outfielder who is lost in his own world, not even noticing that the ball is coming my way.
We can make life with God so complicated, when much of the time God is simply waiting to see if we will receive what is being offered.
How could you shift your schedule, your perspective, your sight, or your hearing, so that today you can receive what God is offering you?
The risen Christ keeps showing up. May we do the same.