Exodus 37-39, Psalm 29, Mark 2
When God calls us to service, God provides our resources
Exodus 37 – 39
When I was a young newspaper reporter in Nashville, Tennessee, my city editor, Bill, was a man who had covered Elvis Presley for many years. Bill got to know Elvis and the star’s entourage well. He was a trusted reporter who told the truth.
As a result, when Elvis died, Bill attended the viewing of the great rock legend. No reporters were allowed to enter and see the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s body. Bill stood in line, tucked his reporters pad in his back pocket and members of Elvis’s family and entourage allowed him to enter. Using his eyes like a video camera, Bill saw how Elvis was dressed, what he looked like and what family members and celebrities were present.
Then Bill wrote an article about Elvis’s death. A celebrity publication paid him a small fortune for his article. He used the earnings to build a swimming pool behind his house in the shape of a guitar and called it, “The pool that Elvis built.”
In a similar way, the Israelites built a tabernacle with rare jewels and lots of gold and precious materials. They could easily have called it, “The tabernacle that the Egyptians built.” The materials used, after all, were given to them by the Egyptians, after God instructed the Israelites to ask for jewelry from their Egyptians captors and neighbors before they fled in the Exodus.
When God calls us to do something, God equips us for God’s service. God provides the resources that we need to accomplish God’s mission. You can trust in that. Throughout history God has provided the people whom he has chosen to be his instruments with the means needed to succeed.
George Müller was born in Germany in 1805, but made his way to England, where he served as a preacher, evangelist, orphanage director and educator. During his lifetime, Müller established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of whom were orphans. He was a remarkable man, a person of deep prayer with great commitment to Scripture.
In one year’s time, Müller became responsible for educating nearly 7,000 children in England, Spain, India, Italy and other countries. There were many days that Müller lived day to day, wondering, hoping and praying that somehow the orphans’ needs and his needs would be met, but God always helped Müller to meet his needs, because Müller was responding to God’s call to serve. Müller wrote,
…I commit the whole work to Him, and He will provide me with what I need, in the future also, though I know not whence the means are to come.
Over 500,000 houses lost their power in the Philadelphia region on the morning that I write this. It is the largest loss of power in our region’s history. When power went out in our town, our sump pump failed to work and our basement temporarily flooded. Fortunately, nothing was damaged. But I cannot help but notice when the psalmist writes,
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
The Lord sits enthroned as king forever. (Ps. 29:10)
Sometimes, we would rather not have God enthroned above or beyond us. We want God here and now, working at our side, preventing problems from occurring and helping us to deal with trials and tribulations. The psalmist, however, makes it clear that God is sovereign. God oversees all of creation. When God is with us, even when we lose power, sit all day in a cold, dark house with a flooded basement, we know that we shall be alright. If God is for us, who can be against us?
As you have probably noticed, Mark’s Gospel offers no birth narrative about Jesus. Rather, we jump right into Jesus’s adult life. In today’s gospel reading, we come across yet another beautiful story of Jesus’s compassionate healing. In many cases, an individual takes responsibility for his or her own healing by seeking out Jesus and asking for wholeness.
In the healing of the paralytic, however, something very different occurs. Jesus has just returned to Capernaum. Word quickly spread that he was in town. Crowds gathered in and around the house where he was speaking. Four friends carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus, hoping that Jesus would heal their friend.
Because the crowd was so big, they could not enter the house. These close friends carried their paralyzed friend onto the roof, dismantled the roof tiles and lowered their friend into Jesus’s presence. There are times in each of our lives where we are so paralyzed by fear or hurt, confusion or pain that we must rely upon others to carry us to God for healing, peace, strength and renewal.
…they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’ (Mark 2:12)
Do you trust that God will equip you with what you need to carry out the mission that God calls you to do? Do you feel that God is far away or near? When have you felt paralyzed and had to depend on others to lift you to God? Who is counting on you today to carry them to our Lord?
Gracious God, be with us in the midst of the floods and earthquakes, storms and trials of life. Help us to be there for others going through difficult challenges and keep our calm, our patience and our sense of humor when others are relying on us. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.
© The Rev. Marek P. Zabriskie
Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania