Just this last Sunday, missionaries to Guatemala, Shawn & Damaris Smith visited us at VLC. They are directors of a missions organization called “Now Is The Time.” Their by line is “Because there is never a good time to go.” As you can imagine, their invitations to serve with them for a week in Guatemala have been turned down with the reason, “It’s just not a good time for me to go.” In all fairness, at times this is a legitimate answer. But let’s face it, how often have we turned down opportunities to __________ (you fill in the blank) with the response, “It’s just not a good time for me…” I know I’ve done it more times than I care to admit.
I’m not just talking about short term missions trips. Opportunities come our way constantly, either as invitations from people or directives from the Holy Spirit. It is almost criminal the number of times I’ve brushed off an invitation with the excuse, “I’ll pray about it,” or just ignored the leading of Jesus, pretending to not hear and not see. In the name of inconvenience I’ve turned off my heart and separated myself from the life flow of God that comes through service.
When I first thought about embracing inconvenience, three passages of scripture came to mind: 1) the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught to turn the other cheek, relinquish our coat as well as our shirt, and go the second mile ; 2) the story of the good Samaritan where the priest and the Levite refuse to be inconvenienced by the injured man; and 3) James’ teaching about faith and works, saying one has faith but doing nothing to show it.
Of course the story of the Good Samaritan is the classic text illustrating how someone chose to be inconvenienced for the sake of someone else’s well being. He didn’t have to. The priest and the Levite walked by without rendering aid. Somehow, the Samaritan man valued the injured man’s life enough to take time to do what was in his power to do. I think that is all we are asked to do, as well.
So my encouragement is to not only be open to the possibility to serve, but also to purposefully as the Lord if and how we are to help when we see a need. Jesus may say “Go ahead and lend a hand,” or he may say, “I have someone else to help out here.” But in the asking, we must be willing to be inconvenienced. For it is in the giving, we receive. It is through blessing, we are blessed. It is in the laying down of our lives that life flows back to us.
I pray God’s grace on you as you choose to be inconvenienced for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
Grace and peace,
1) Matthew 5:38-42
2) Luke 10:25-37
3) James 2:14-18