When the fire in my throat woke me up long before sunrise I was not happy. I’d planned to get up early for Easter service but not that early. I was equally frustrated by the fact that getting some ice for it would wake up the whole house. Dog plus ice maker equals a normally cute scene but not at four a.m.
I decided to tough it out and lay in bed until my alarm went off. We’d agreed the week before to go to the less popular early service at church to make more room for visitors at the later one. This hardly seemed like an inconvenience at the time. When I fell back to sleep right before my clock radio blasted I regretted the decision.
Getting ready I was so grumpy I began to think Protestants should give out tickets for Holy Days like some synagogues do. Then you could sleep in on Easter morning. The Holy Spirit quickly gave me a shot to the heart on that one. Shame on you Kären you know better! Sore throat or not you don’t get to think like a Pharisee today of all days.
I pulled it together and headed out the door with a smile. The mood at church was joyous and I was glad we’d made the effort to be there early. However, midway through the announcements I began to feel weary again. There were so many needs.
The youth group needs donations for their mission trip, the prison ministry needs cookies, Sharefest needs more volunteers, etc. etc. Add to that the list of things going with my boys and my head was spinning. It’s not a time for me to take on more than what I’ve already committed to. The Holy Spirit hit me with another dart to the heart. Don’t be a hypocrite remember what you told that guy yesterday? Yes I do.
Checking out at the grocery store the man in front of me noticed me picking up a penny. He asked me if I collected them. “Sort of,” I said and gave him the two sentence version of my story. While we were advancing through the line I found four more and a nickel. He asked me why I thought people don’t pick them up. I told him in this case I assumed it was because everyone was so busy getting ready for Easter they couldn’t be bothered. “Change can be really inconvenient when you’re busy,” I said.
Now with my conscience tweaked the lump in my throat was me fighting back tears. My perspective had been off since I woke. Easter of all days begs the question—when have I ever been inconvenienced for God’s Kingdom beyond the call to make small sacrifices? Never. When have I ever been called to suffer like Jesus? Never.
I was reminded that a life of service is inconvenient. It requires dying to your priorities and living for God’s. To be his hands and feet means you have to put down your own agenda. You have to think like Jesus whose singular focus was to serve man.
For those who call him King the same should be true. Easter is as much about God overcoming the power of death through sacrifice as it is us. His grace is manifest by people serving because they’ve been served. God has a face in the world when His children are willing to stop and take care of the details no matter how difficult that might be.
Just like it’s awkward to pick up a penny when your hands are full it’s a challenge to juggle your priorities. However, if opportunities to serve are always untimely then your timing is probably off. Mine was Easter morning. I’m thankful God’s wasn’t. Jesus came at the perfect time in history to take care of a debt He didn’t owe. Mine. The least I can do is pay it forward no matter how inconvenient that might feel. If the devil really is in the details then I don’t want to let him get there before me.
“We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day;” John 9:4 (NASB)