Early in the morning before my time alone with the Lord and my usual coffee and breakfast, it is difficult to respond graciously. Yet each morning from the moment my feet hit the carpeting, demands are placed upon me.
My wife needs her pain patch put in place at the small of her back, and then needs help with this and that. But then, unnecessarily, she rehearses all of her schedule for the day. Can’t this wait until after my coffee? I silently think. Then she feels the need to remind me of all I had shared with her the day before—all that I need to accomplish today. My flesh wants to scream, Yes, I’m well aware of what I need to do. Please leave me alone so I can do it! Meanwhile, I’m tripping over the cat as she blocks each step, rubbing against my legs, insisting that she is ready to die of starvation any second. The dog trails close behind. The telephone rings incessantly. Everyone is demanding something of me, and I haven’t even taken care of me yet. Once everyone is fed and medically pampered, and promises are made to perform various extra duties, a slight grumble escapes my lips. That’s when I reach for my bible—Jesus will help to adjust my attitude. Matthew chapter fourteen…
Again, our Savior’s example is filled with grace as His love is disseminated to all. The news came to the Blessed Nazarene: “Your cousin, John the Baptizer has been beheaded in prison.”
(verse13) “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Obviously He wanted to be alone, just as I do every morning, for just a few moments. The details of John’s death must have made the news all the worse. As most anyone would do, Jesus sought out solitude that He might mourn, or at least process the loss. But the crowds were rather insensitive to Jesus’ plight. As soon as the boat Jesus occupied landed, there was a large crowd waiting for Him. This effectively robbed Him of the “Me-time” that, personally, I surely would have demanded, having just lost a loved one. But Jesus’ response was different. “He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Verse 14).
“Oh Lord Jesus, please teach me to respond the way you do! I can’t even respond graciously to my own family’s needs until mine have been met.” As a minister of the gospel and bible teacher for the past ten years, one would think I have all this stuff down pat. But every good theologian knows that ‘self’ is an ogre which needs to be crucified on a daily basis. I am thankful and encouraged that the Apostle Paul recorded in Romans chapter seven: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Yes, even Paul had to submit again and again, putting himself under Christ’s Lordship anew every day. It is a daily walk, and God’s mercy is brand spanking new every day. No wonder we sing Amazing Grace how sweet the sound!
I am pleased to announce that I have now had my coffee and my time alone with the Creator of the Cosmos. I’m feeling the love again and acting graciously, ready to serve others until bedtime rolls around again. I hope to handle tomorrow morning a little bit better than I did today. Of course, I’ll have to rise a bit earlier than I did today. After all, it is a growing process.