Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Your Family Is Really Hungry for This Thanksgiving

            This Thanksgiving, your family and friends are hungry for more than turkey and pumpkin pie; more than they want to watch the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys take on their annual opponents, whether they know it or not, they are hungry for…God.

            Maybe they know God but have lost their way and are stumbling around.  Maybe they’ve tried everything but God and are facing the bitter consequences, wondering if they have wrecked their life beyond repair.  Maybe they just need a listening ear, a word of encouragement, a rest from the chaos of their life.

            They may arrive in garish sweaters, various states of sobriety and fashion, but what they secretly want is some visit, some sign, some evidence, that God is really acting on this world, visiting this world, impacting this world.  We all want to see God’s power, God’s reality, God himself break through and show us that He exists. We hunger for splashes of heavenly glory on this earthly stage, because God planted that hunger in our hearts.

            Here’s the good news: God is just as hungry to show Himself to you, your family and friends, and the sobering news is, this Thanksgiving He wants to do it through you.

            Living a life of “holiness” isn’t a life defined primarily by piety—what we avoid doing, etc.—it’s a life of availability.  Holiness literally means “set apart,” which assumes we are set apart for something—in this case, to be used by God to show His presence and glory to others.

Once we surrender our bodies in this way, we become living and breathing centers of possibility—a force that God can use to impact the world. This truth teaches us to see our lives as a call to represent Christ wherever we go, whether it’s at a high school basketball game, a Thanksgiving dinner, the dreaded Department of Motor Vehicles Office, or even standing in line on “Black Friday.” Regardless of our location, we can live with a sense of offering ourselves up to God so that he can encourage his children and reach out to the lost. “Availability to God” is all about being in tune with God, ready to be used by God, and living for God on a moment-by-moment basis.

            Will you make yourself available to God when you least expect to be called upon this weekend?  Instead of simply surviving the weekend, or bracing yourself for the usual onslaught of family dysfunction or triviality, why not see if God will break through in an extraordinarily new way? Just because we make ourselves available to God doesn’t mean we’ll experience an unending string of miraculous encounters and exciting celestial conversations. God moves as he wills, where he wills, when he wills. But it is still an appropriate and necessary act of worship to present ourselves before God, saying, “Here I am. If you want to do something through me, I’m ready.”

            This weekend, before you get in the car, hop on a plane, or open your front door to the rest of the family, pause for a moment and pray, “Lord, make me sensitive. I’m offering my ears, mind, tongue, hands, and eyes. Fill them with your presence so that I could be your servant. Let me see what’s really going on. Let me hear what’s really being said. Let me care the way you care. And give me a tongue that will say just what you want said.”

            Maybe something will happen; maybe nothing will.  But making yourself available is so pleasing to God, in and of itself.

            Will you do that?  Will you make yourself available, and lose the mindset of simply “surviving” the family gathering?

            More than an obligation, this is the threshold to an exciting and fulfilling life and a wonderful holiday. It’s exactly what Paul was talking about when he called Christianity “the only race worth running.” When every moment becomes pregnant with divine possibility, and when each situation provides opportunity for God to manifest himself through us, there’s nothing else like it.

This blog entry was adapted from my book,  Holy Available.

1 comment:

  1. Gary, thanks for the encouraging words and for the inspiration for doing God's Will....Enjoy the holidays...