Thursday, August 4, 2011

Who? What? When?

I recently read a book about Rabbi Hillel called If Not Now, When?. (I reviewed the book here.) Among his other wisdoms, Hillel was patient with people who said they were too busy to study the Torah. He listened to their well-intentioned promises to do it later, when they had more time. He replied, however, that no one ever gets more time. (Ask most retired people if they have more space in their days now.) If you aren't making time for it now, when will you realistically do it? We all know about activity (and acquisition) creep. And we all know what it means to be busy.

If not now, when? I have many answers to that questions, but if I am honest, they are all excuses.

When I read the Epistle lesson for this week, I think Paul has a similar question to the Roman Christians: "If not you, who?" He writes, "The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" (Romans 10:11-15) If you (Roman or modern-day disciple) do not share the joy of your salvation, who will? 

Is there a better time? A better person? Not for the mission God has for you. 

I wrote an email this morning to a group of people whom I have known for several years. I pointed out that I hadn't heard from many of them and that I was lonely for their companionship. One of the recipients called me with an hour of me sending the email. I was amazed and grateful. If I had read an email like mine, it is likely that I would have begun to compose a response. I would have planned to send it tonight from home. I would have decided to give myself a couple more days to think and then the message would have slid down the inbox and I would have forgotten. 

But, no, she felt the Spirit's call at that minute and called me and we had a great conversation. We can all follow that example of heeding the Spirit's urging and ignore the other voice that says, "You don't know what to say. Maybe she's busy. Wait until you have a few more minutes." God does lead us through these moments that are the reality of living in faith and sharing it. We must trust the Spirit. 

If not you, who? 

If not now, when? 

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