Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach…”
Mark 3: 13-14 (NLT)
I remember that it was a God-appointed moment that morning a few years ago in a Starbucks on Blake Street in Denver, Colorado. It was a moment for my son and me, with a dear friend who is no longer with us.
What began as a scheduled hour-long meeting, turned into three, making us all late for the rest of the day. All because we were into the moment, into the relationship together—the three of us with each other, together.
Unfortunately, relational moments like that are being lost in today’s fast-paced technological culture with the advent of all forms of social media to connect with others, at least superficially, notwithstanding that it also interrupts most face-to-face moments.
Simply being in the moment with another human being—focused on them, not in the room and on your cell phone with the non-stop calls, emails, texts, Facebook or Twitter messages bombarding the setting. Actually, since there is an on-off switch on our phones, iPads, computers, and other electronic communication devices, it’s not the devices which are to blame for the intervention into relationships—is it?
The late Dr. Richard Halverson, fourteen years the Chaplain of the United States Senate, never kept a Day-Timer or a schedule. He knew when he had to be in the Senate Chamber to open the Senate each day in prayer, and he knew when a particular Senator wanted to visit with him about something or someone. So instead of keeping a schedule, he simply made it a point to be where people were. He made it a point to always know everything that was going on in someone’s life—whether a U.S. Senator, or a member of their staff, one of the custodians, a clerk, a housekeeper, or the Senate Dining Room wait staff.
Lunches with him in the Senate Dining Room were extended, not just because of the conversation at the table with his guest who he wanted to get to know, but also because he would inquire about the family of each member of the staff, especially those for whom he had been in prayer because of something going on in their family. Walks down the corridors back to his office or to the Senate Chamber always took much longer than they normally should, because Dr. Halverson would be stopped by, or would himself stop, a staff member along the way to inquire about something he knew was going on in their life.
A familiar face to most of us on CBS on the Sunday afternoon National Football League telecasts is the host of CBS NFL Sunday—James Brown, or JB to much of the world. Of course, the television viewing audience gets to connect through the television screen with a man who is beyond likeable and appealing. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, energetic, just plain gracious, and genuinely nice. Until you meet him, that is—and then you realize that he’s ten times as nice as he appears on television. JB is truly one of the most humble men you will ever meet, and a man who would do anything for you—especially offering you a listening, caring ear when you need one.
Watching JB after he speaks at a function is a lesson in living in the moment for us all. As the line forms of those from the listening audience who would like to have a word with him, it takes longer to get through than most waiting lines one may have noticed before. The reason is that to JB—the one person he is talking to in that moment, in the line, is the only person in the room. And when that person is finished, JB will move on to the next person. But not until that person is finished talking with him.
The lesson we can learn from those examples of Dr. Halverson and JB—of being and living in the moment with others, of blessing others one at time who are before you—is the same as Christ’s lesson and example to us—to be with others not just physically, but also—emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
The disciples were with Jesus. They stayed with Him wherever He went. Jesus was always with His disciples, and they were with Him.
And Jesus was always with other people, finding them where they were, spending time with them, and taking them where they ought to be—always to a better place.
Jesus was always in the moment. And He calls us to do the same—with Him, and with and for others. He calls us into a relationship, or deeper relationship, with Him. Perhaps something for us to reflect upon and move toward during this Lenten season as we head toward Easter, and the empty tomb.
Life is full of God-appointed moments, like that setting at the Starbucks on Blake Street in Denver, or a personal encounter with Christ, seeking and being about the things that truly matter—now and for eternity.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.