1 Peter 4:10-11 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies - in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
There were 21 checkout counters at a grocery store, but only three of the counters were open, and I was at the end of one long line of waiting people. I'd been to the store many times, and I can't remember a single time when I saw all 21 counters open for business.
Of course, as you know, the problem is not unique to grocery stores. Department stores never seem to have all their counters manned either. And then there are banks and savings & loan institutions with their neat little signs: "Next window, please."
Most recently, I was mildly irritated when I struggled up the stairs of a public building, carrying an armload of boxes, only to be met by little signs hung from chains in each of the seven doorways. The signs all said, "Please use the doorway on Yuma Street."
If doorways and counters exist for use and service, it seems to me they ought to be used for those purposes. Of course, I know there must be some logical reason for the signs and barriers, and I do suppose there must be some time when all entrances, exits, and counters are used, but I've never had that experience.
But then people, myself included, are like that, too, aren't we?
We have gifts and abilities which ought to be used in the service of God and our fellow man. We are presented with many special service opportunities and circumstances, but—consciously or unconsciously—we hang out little signs that say things like "Not available right now." "See someone else." "I'm too busy." "Come back later." "Sorry, I can't help." "Sorry, I won't help."
How unlike all of that is our Lord. There is no waiting when we call upon His help. In fact, there is abundant help and blessing from Him before we ever ask. You won't find any signs or messages that say He is too busy, too tired, or has too much to do. The bottom line: there are never any barriers as far as He is concerned.
The prophet Isaiah said it well of those whom God has chosen in Isaiah 41:10. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
And what's more—His help is free. Sometimes we may have to wait, but His help and His answer are always worth waiting for.
Sometimes, the best we can do for others is simply to be there—to be there for them, to be available. Offering someone our time is a gift we can give to everyone.
Just like God has done for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, remind us to be like Your Son who always gave of Himself for us—even unto death on a cross. In His Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, July 1978 issue, "Our Gifts, Abilities Ought to Be Used" by Jon Suel
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