Dear Dyersburg FUMC Family,
I read a devotion this morning from Father Richard Rohr in which he said, “The virtue for living in the in-between times Jesus calls faith.” So many times, we simply have to trust that the kingdom of heaven—God’s kingdom—is real. We have to trust—we have to have faith—because we don’t always experience it with our five senses. But then sometimes something happens in our lives that lines up so perfectly with scripture that we realize the kingdom of heaven really is near. I had that experience last week and I want to share it with you.
Of course you know that for six weeks we lived with the Sermon on the Mount in our worship services, and for those of us who participated in Bible Study, we continued to live with the sermon for three additional weeks. Needless to say, chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s Gospel were my constant companions for over two months.
Now the story. About a week ago I met an individual—someone I’d never met before and will likely never see again. As we talked, I found myself utterly fascinated by this person’s life, story, and faith. As we finished our conversation, I felt a clear nudge from the Holy Spirit to do something for this person. Remembering that I had a large bill in my purse, I gave it to my new friend, who tried to refuse it. I insisted. I won.
Fast forward to last Saturday morning. I went to my car to do my Saturday morning errands and noticed right away that the door to our storage area was open. That was strange. When I opened my (unlocked) car door, I saw items that had previously been in my seat pocket, my console, and my glove box strewn about the front seats. And, of course, my purse was gone. (Yes, I should have locked the car door. Yes, I shouldn’t have left my purse in my car). If you haven’t had your purse or wallet stolen (or lost) in awhile, be encouraged that the process of replacing identification cards and credit cards has become much simpler than in the past. But I digress. As I went about my day, I started thinking more about what was in my purse. And then I remembered what was supposed to be in my purse but wasn’t. It wasn’t there because the Holy Spirit had clearly directed me to give it away, to store my treasure in heaven, as it were. And because I had stored it where the Holy Spirit had directed me to store it, it was not in a place “where thieves break in and steal.” Literally. I experienced the contented joy that comes when we follow God’s direction for using our money.
I don’t say this to call attention to my good deeds or to get a pat on the back. I share this because when we see God’s promises lived out in real time we need to call attention to God’s goodness and faithfulness. We don’t always get to see the kingdom of heaven right before our eyes, and when we do, we need to tell the stories of what God has done. I also share this to emphasize how important it is for us to live with and sit with scripture, to let it work its way so deeply into our hearts that it reveals itself in actions that reflect God’s will for the world.
I pray that this week we would all pay attention to the Holy Spirit in our lives
and glorify God in all that we say and do!
In Peace, Mary Beth