Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Only Call When...

I heard the following story from a friend of mine who is a Roman Catholic priest.

"I walked into a hospital room the other day to visit a parishioner. The moment I walked through the door, the guy says, 'Look what your God has done to me!' I responded, 'You're pretty quick to blame Him for bad stuff. When is the last time you thanked Him for the good stuff!?' Then I turned around and walked out of the room!"

Rather sheepishly, my friend, the priest explained that he went back to visit the man later in the day. He apologized to the parishioner. And the parishioner apologized too. Apparently his priest was right!

I thought of that story this morning after reading the following passage from Isaiah:

Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel.
You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
nor honored me with your sacrifices. (Isaiah 43:22-23a NIV)

God begins to "grade" the Israelites, and this list includes stuff they were not doing to their own detriment. (Interesting this falls on the heels of the "new thing" God declared in v19.) These verses make it clear that God's work on their behalf is not because they have been so faithful.

But their lack of faithfulness does not cancel out God's absolute faithfulness.

As we think about God's advents into our lives, ask yourself:

- Do I regularly call on God? Not just when I'm in trouble, but when things are going well or simply to speak to Him regularly and intentionally?

- Do I "weary myself" for God? Or do I refuse to lift a finger for His work in the world?

- When is the last time I truly sacrificed my time, or my money, or my ability for His work?

- Will my day, today, honor God in every way? In any way?

May we humble ourselves so God doesn't have to.

May we make corrections in our lives rather than forcing God to.

Grace & peace

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