"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Coincidence, Sabbath, Spontaneous Ministry

More notes from Wild Goose Chase . . .

"I don't believe in coincidence. I believe in providence. I believe in a sovereign God who sets up divine appointments half a world away. He can use any one of us to touch anyone else in the world." (pg. 52)

This reminded me of all my blogging friends because I do believe God brought us together to share and learn from each other.

Speaking of taking a Sabbath or day of rest, Mark rightly declares that God did not need a break. His view: "The Sabbath is a weekly reminder that we don't keep the planets in orbit; He does." In other words, quit trying to do so much. Got a mile-long to-do list? Don't fret if you can't get it all done in one day or even in a week!

We tend to miss ministry opportunities when we are too busy and too much in a hurry. Notice how often Jesus was on his way somewhere, but he was interrupted and stopped to help. He didn't say, "Oops sorry...late for an appointment with Lazarus!" Nope, he stopped to minister and heal the woman with a bleeding disorder. Realize sometimes those annoying human interruptions are really divine appointments. God uses us to reach out to others. Don't be in such a rush to get somewhere and get things done that we don't stop to help the ones in need (think religious leaders in the story of the Good Samaritan).

Mark sites a study where researchers concluded, "The words 'You're late,' had the effect of making someone who was ordinarily compassionate into someone who was indifferent to suffering." (pg. 57)

Mark believes, "Spontaneity is an underappreciated dimension of spirituality. In fact, spiritual maturity has less to do with long-range visions than it does with moment-by-moment sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit." (pg. 58) This makes me think again of the post I did recently on Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip was directed by the Holy Spirit where to go, which chariot to approach and thus was able to preach the good news of Jesus to this searching man!

What do y'all think? Is Mark way off base or do you think his ideas have merit? Have you any experience in where seeming human interruptions turned into "divine appointments"? Are you a spontaneous person or are you like me and like things planned out in advance? :-) Do you recall times when you felt the Spirit was prompting you to visit someone, call someone or go some place that you had not thought to go? Did you obey that prompting or did you ignore it? Anything worth sharing about that experience? What do you think about taking a day of rest and Mark's "take" on it? Anything else you'd like to share? Please do!


Wafa' said...

i love the post so much and i believe in what Mark said, his ideas are true . we are way too hurry and in a rush to do this and that , that we miss the good life, experience , love , people and sharing with the world when we move too quick. i don't plan and things just happened with me, i have never been taught to plan and i think even if it did , i would not chose that. Life is more fun and beautiful living in as it happened. I am usualy not a talktive person with people i don't know or dealt with for a long time, but i rememeber that time when i talked to one of the cleaning ladies at school and something was telling me to ask more (as if she wanted to say something but shy about it ) and on that day i knew about her sitaution at home and the basic things that her salary couldn't afford her and thank god i could help :). to this day, she said i don't know what makes us talk about this and that and then you help me, and we are friends now :).
God works in mysterious ways, right?

Amber said...

I don't know, I think that there *are* coincidences. I mean, I don't picture God as sitting there, plotting out every moment of our lives. I think that there are certain, *fixed* moments (has Doctor Who flashback), moments that God has planned, but for Him to plan *everything* we do, *every* little thing is just a little too micromanagerial for me, and brings into question our free will. So.

"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" - Mark 2:27

I try to remember that. That it's a blessing *for me*. God doesn't need to take a break. But I certainly do.

"Don't worship me. I'd make a very bad god. You wouldn't get a day off, for starters." - The 9th Doctor

We're all in such a rush nowadays, everything happens so fast, we've lost the appreciation for slowing down. And yes, as you said, we lose opportunities when we're going 100 miles an hour.

Coffee Bean said...

I am a spontaneous person who also likes to plan, LOL! I see planning ahead in certain ways as making it possible to be spontaneous. I'm talking more along the lines of having meals stocked up in the freezer so it is easy to take one to someone on short notice... being able to invite someone over on the fly... always taking more than needed places so I can share. Being open to your plans changing is important.

I've had many instances over the years where my plans went awry and it enabled me to be there for someone.

One time I could not sleep and kept thinking I should call a friend of mine in another state. It was 4 am!!! I went back and forth with myself and then finally picked up the phone. She answered on the first ring and started crying when she heard my voice. She was really hurting and needing to talk to someone. I didn't even know she was going through anything.

Another time I called a homeschooling friend mid morning. Homeschoolers don't typically call each other at that time because you don't want to interrupt anything. I just felt I should call. Her oldest daughter answered and was very distressed. I could hear my friend crying... she was miscarrying her baby. The children took turns talking to me and I told her oldest daughter what she needed to do. It was very difficult but I was so glad I called.

I have felt prompted to approach strangers before but it is rare when I do it. I always feel really bad once the opportunity has passed.

I've also felt strong feelings of needing to get away from certain strangers... once it was a very sweet old lady. I didn't understand but I did heed the feeling.

Susanne said...

Wafa', I LOVE that story you shared about stopping to talk to the cleaning lady. It's so neat how friendships can develop if we just take the time to really LISTEN to people instead of just hurrying on our way. Thanks for sharing that great example. :)

Amber, I don't think Mark meant every single thing, but was talking particularly in regards to relationships and "just so happening" to meet certain people. But, yeah, I see your point even there. Glad you could relate to the need to slow down and take a Sabbath. Oh, and thanks for the commandment from the 9th doctor. :-)

Coffee Bean, so glad to see you again! I love the examples you provided. How wonderful that you called your friends just when they needed you. That's really cool! Wow, now I'm wondering why you felt you should leave that sweet old lady...weird. I loved this -- "Being open to your plans changing is important." That is so true and something I need to take to heart more as I often get annoyed with interrupted plans.

Thank you all for your comments!