Meanderings of a Minister

June 26, 2015, 10:47 am
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I am not sure if you are like me (I hope not), but I have a confession.  When I am focused on doing something, I hate to be interrupted.  Psychologists tell me that the primary reason for this is that men’s brains are like waffles.  We like to operate in one square at a time.  For instance, when I am at work, I don’t like to get a call from home asking questions about something because it makes me move from the square I am in and the “interruption” is unwelcome.  That is their explanation, but the Bible says there is another cause.

James explains it this way:

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:1–3, NASB95)

So, God says the reason that I hate interruptions is because I am a selfish and prideful person who is convinced that what I am doing, want to do, plan to do is the most important thing in the world at that moment and anyone else’s needs encroach upon my desires.  In other words, I am on the throne of my time and people had better respect that.  When they don’t, I get frustrated.

Let me give you an example.  This summer, like the last eight years, our church has planned Outdoor Movie Nights.  This is where we turn our back parking lot into a drive-in theater.  We invite the entire community to enjoy a free cookout, free refreshments, free games for the kids, and then a free movie.  We usually schedule one of these every other week throughout the summer.  This year, the first two movies were rained out.  Yes, they were rained out.  Our plans were interrupted.  I was frustrated.  I asked God if He did not understand how important this is as an outreach and a chance to minister to our community.  I even pouted a little bit.

As I contemplated this, it dawned on me that, if James was right, and I am sure he is, then the real issue with the movie nights being cancelled was that I had what I wanted to do and God was not cooperating.  So, who is one the throne?  Is God on the throne and I exist to worship Him, or am I on the throne and God exists to serve me?

Some popular authors and preachers in our day would have us believe that all we have to do is ask for whatever we want from God and believe hard enough and He will be obligated to do what we ask.  Is this the Biblical picture?  What if what we are asking for will result in taking us further away from Him?  Would He still grant it?  What if we wanted something that would harm or kill us?  What about the case where two teams and praying and believing for a victory at the same time, but they are playing each other?

Interruptions give us the opportunity for God to realign our thinking, loyalty, priorities, and vision.  It is Moses at the burning bush, Gideon at the winepress, Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus.  It is the way a loving God gets the attention of some people so intent upon serving Him that they miss the fellowship with Him for which they were created and saved.  It is the way God reveals Himself to a world that is so distracted with temporal things it has not time for the eternal.

So, this Friday, we have another Movie Night and everyone is invited.  We have bought lots of food, have picked out a great movie, have signed up volunteers to greet, play, cook, serve, and clean up.  If God chooses to interrupt it again with rain, perhaps I would do better to thank Him and spend the freed up time connecting with Him and asking what direction He would like me to go instead of pouting.  Perhaps you and I might want to come to God, confess our selfishness and submit to His sovereignty anew and let “interruptions” realign us to His purposes.  It won’t be easy, but it will be great.  Let’s repent of frustration and recommit to subordination.


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