Why Jesus puts us on the spot
7.10 am this morning, the phone goes just as I am eating my porridge, thinking about what to write for this blog.
Jacqui upstairs answers: it’s a daughter, who has just realized that she needs her passport counter-signing before her appointment at the Liverpool Passport Office in just two hours time. The crunch is that it has to be by someone – not a relative - who has known her for two years. That excludes everyone in Bunbury.
So could I organise it? And right away! I am her father. It is clearly my responsibility.
We all have a tendency to leave things last minute, particularly one member of our family. Sometimes it is inevitable; often it is the sheer inability to think ahead. It can be panic-inducing; it can also be exhilarating.
Procrastination is the evocative word. I learnt at school that it is derived from the Latin - what we should do today we move forward (pro) to tomorrow (cras). It can be a way of handling difficult situations – shunt them into the future. I recall one person from my days in Heswall who would routinely stuff unopened bills behind the radiator in the hall. Not the best of strategies but it does work for a while.
And so there are times when God will make us face up to issues which we seek to avoid. Painful but necessary. “You can’t put this off any longer.” Now is the day of salvation, to quote the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 6:2).
The writer to the Hebrews in the New Testament quotes Psalm 95:
‘Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’ (Hebrews 3:15) You need to respond to God today – even though there may seem excellent reasons for delaying our response
It’s surprising how often Jesus puts people on the spot: it is his modus operandi. He does it all the time, even though your father has just died.
So in my Bible reading for this morning I was reading how Jesus encountered four fishermen and simply said “Follow me.” And then did. Just like that. Or when he calls the tax collector hiding in his tree: “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
And within two verses Zacchaeus is a transformed man.
It is a now-or-never moment. I think we prefer plenty of notice, time for reflection and an extensive cooling off period so should the need arise we can retract our decision. But God love us too much – he knows what we are like. We need a ready obedience.
Or, if I may simply quote my running shoes “Just do it”. Today.
PS During the writing of this blog, you will be relieved that I arranged for the passport to be signed (thanks, John) , and then between paragraphs 5 and 6 took my daughter along with two granddaughters to Town Green station. She will be just 10 minutes late for her appointment.