My typical day begins at five A.M. I take a few pills which my doctor insists I need in order to stay healthy. I then sit down at my desk to enjoy my life sustaining daily bread from God’s word. After a few chapters and maybe a few notes it’s time to eat a light breakfast and get ready for work. My commute takes about thirty-five minutes and it’s mostly two lane roads with light traffic. During those thirty five minutes of relative quiet I have my morning talk with my Father. My mornings have become a series of routine habits. I like having a routine. Some would say I am a “creature of habit.” I am comfortable with that. It is my nature to dislike change. Any disruption of my routine tends to frustrate me. I’m no different from most people; I want to stay in my comfort zone.
A few weeks ago on my way to work I was praying to my Father as usual. My prayers always begin with praise and gratitude. I’m specific with what I am grateful for. I think it’s important to not just generalize “blessings”. God blesses each of us with so much that we can’t possibly name them all, but I believe it’s important to name a few things that are special to us, especially if it’s an answered prayer. From praise and gratitude I move to asking forgiveness for anything I’ve done wrong. Next is the intercessory portion of my prayer. I had confidence in intercessory prayer because I have seen those answered many times. I have family and loved ones that I name daily to God, for protection, guidance, or comfort as the need may be. But this particular morning the Holy Spirit threw up a giant stop sign, freezing me in the middle of my routine.
I don’t know if it was a few seconds or a few minutes, but I couldn’t speak, humbled into silence by the omniscient God. Finally, the realization was prodded into my mind. I needed to pray for me first. I rarely ask anyone to pray for me. Somehow I think it sounds selfish, especially since God has so richly blessed me with good health and provisions for life.
Let me be perfectly clear though, It is NEVER selfish to ask someone to pray for you. We survive by God’s grace alone and we absolutely should be praying for each other. At this particular moment, when God’s Holy Spirit stopped my “routine” prayer, I realized that I needed to make some changes.
My prayer life had always included asking for help in understanding God’s word, that I would glean something from it that would be a help to me in serving Him. I’ve asked for help in recognizing when God puts an opportunity in my path to serve in whatever capacity He chooses. I would be careful to ask that whatever is done by my hand would be seen as the work of the Holy Spirit, not by me. But the one thing that’s needed that I wasn’t asking for is that I would be counted as trustworthy by everyone I meet. People must trust you before they will accept anything you say or try to do for them.
We all have acquaintances, family and friends that, even though we may love them dearly, we know we can’t trust them. We can’t change that. What we can change however is to live our life in a manner that makes us known to be trustworthy, especially to those people that we do not trust. Although I’m sure those closest to me, those in my circle of trust, would know me as trustworthy, I realized that I was not making a conscious effort for those that I did not trust to know that. I was doing very little to make those people believe that they could safely confide in me. Without confidence in me how could anyone trust me enough to listen when I tell them about Jesus? That doesn’t sound very Christ-like does it?
When Jesus walked this earth He provided many examples of His trustworthiness. Sadly, His disciples and those close to Him were often the most forgetful of what He could accomplish for them. Nevertheless, the fame of the miracles He performed was widely known. Jesus made an intentional effort to seek out society’s least desirable people of the day in order to show the power of His Father. It was an effort that caused these people, the ones that were least trusted in society, to trust Him fully. Zacchaeus, the distrusted tax collector for example, showed no hesitation when Jesus called him down out of the sycamore tree, and because he trusted Jesus, he and his family were saved. The most moving story of compassion though I believe is that of the Greek woman, a Gentile, who came begging Jesus to cast out the devil that was in her daughter. Jesus’ first answer may seem cruel, but this woman knew she could fully trust Jesus to help her. Jesus was her last hope and because she was able to trust Him her daughter was healed. The compassionate, trustworthy character she saw in Jesus is the character that I need to strive for.
The Christian as an ambassador for Christ should have the same listening ear, the same helpful hand, the same compassionate heart, for the stranger as he does for the closest loved one. That is very difficult if not impossible for us to do on our own. It is simply not in our natural character. We must fully surrender to Christ and allow Him to change our character. Our character should, without any trace of doubt, show us trustworthy to whoever we meet, whether it be a hated tax collector or an outcast foreigner.
And now I humbly ask you to pray for me, that I would be considered trustworthy to anyone that crosses my path, so that I might be trusted to point someone to Jesus, whether a trusted loved one or an unknown stranger.
“For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.”