Thursday, June 28, 2007

Luke #3 – Extraordinary in the Middle of Regular

Luke #3 – Extraordinary in the Middle of Regular

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him” (Luke 1:8-12 – King James Version).

I can’t even remember which hurricane it was; so many hit North Carolina. I do remember that I was with a bunch of good people from Clement Baptist Church, performing flood relief in Rocky Mount. We had cleaned out several houses that morning and were working our way eastward across the city. As was our lot, we went into a neighborhood that ended with a cul-de-sac. We began working in the lowest end of that street, which was probably twenty feet lower than the upper end. The houses on that far end had seen water up to their ceiling. It was terrible.

We were the first people that worked on that street; ten days after the flood. There was one lady whose house, car, and place of employment were destroyed during that flood. In the previous six months she had seen both her husband and one of her children die. When she came home for the first time since the flood, we were there. We took turns holding her hand and crying with her for much of the afternoon.

Another couple, who were quite elderly, came home we were there. The man was a deacon and his wife a leader in their church. They were spiritual giants. The elderly lady said (something to this effect), “I’ve been around a long time. I have seen a lot of injustice done to black folk. I thought this flood would do us in. We thought no one would ever come to help. When I come down here today I mostly could not believe my eyes. I saw you all…all you beautiful white angels…and I knew God was here.” There, in that moment, I saw the hand of God reach past decades and into hearts. It was beautiful! While we were simply shoveling mud and moving out water ruined furniture God was doing miracles. Years of racial mistrust were wiped away. Fear of present circumstances and doubt of future prospects melted away. It’s mysterious, this hand of God.

Angels don’t appear everyday. Miracles do.

Zacharias had a very noble ministry; he burned the incense in the Temple. The smoke from that incense was meant to be a sweet smell that lifted to the nose of God. It accompanied the prayers of those worshipping.

Zacharias was doing a special job; any job done for God is special. If you vacuum the floors of your church building to glorify God, that job is special. If you work with the children of your church, that ministry is special. As a matter of fact, I wonder why most every church has to hire someone to clean their facilities? Why don’t the members of churches do that honorable service themselves? I think Zacharias has a thing or two teach us here; if burning incense is a noble service to God then whatever God puts in front of us we ought to joyfully and energetically do it!

After all, it’s most often in the faithfulness of menial tasks that God gives more responsibility. Also it’s when God shows up! While Zacharias was going about his regular duties an angel appeared. That angel had big news for Zacharias; even in Zach’s aged state God was going to bless him and Elisabeth with a child. It was not going to be and ordinary child but the forerunner of the Messiah!

We should do whatever God puts in front of us to do. We should embrace menial tasks and do them in a manner that seeks to glorify God. When we do that, God may surprise us. He WILL show up! Zacharias had the proper response; he was freaked out. This angel was only a messenger from the Lord and scared Zach a great deal. Imagine if God Himself had appeared to Zacharias (as He did to Isaiah – Isaiah 6).

That brings up another thing…why do people have cute little angels every where in there house, cars, jewelry, etc.? Every time an angel appeared to someone in the Bible they did NOT say “Ohhh…look, it’s a cute little angel! Isn’t that sweet!” No way; people were scared when they saw an angel; provoked with holy fear (check out Daniel 10). We need to give proper reverence to supernatural things of God. Zacharias teaches us this.

God does the extraordinary in the middle of regular stuff. He scared Zacharias a great deal when He sent His angel while Zacharias burned incense. God showed up on that street in Rocky Mount. Here the question: do we expect God to show up? Do we do the little things faithfully? Do we respond properly when He does show up?

Serve however, wherever, and whenever God gives you to serve. He’ll show up. Reverence Him when He does.


Virgie said...

Tim pray for me I lead this Tuesday at Celebrate Recovery this is my third time. Pray for Gods strength and his guidance and the butter flys that I get in the stomach. And that God will give me the words to speak these people who are reaching out for help.

Thank you the inspiration with the devotion today.

Thanks your sister in Christ. Virgie

Serve however, wherever, and whenever God gives you to serve. He’ll show up. Reverence Him when He does.

twbowes said...

You've got it! I will pray for you. With God's grace, you will do more than will be more than a conquerer!