While visiting my youngest son and his wife and their new baby in Arkansas two weeks ago, I jotted down the notes for the message I planned to preach on Palm Sunday. Based on a segment of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the soliloquy focused on laying up treasures on heaven instead of on earth: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Because of the winter storm that followed on my heels as I drove home that Saturday afternoon, we cancelled church services the next day. I saved the sermon for yesterday, two weeks later.
As is my custom during the closing song that comes immediately after the preaching, I left the pulpit and headed up the main aisle toward the back of the church. A man who would most likely not have been there two Sundays ago stopped me near the front of the church. The reason he most likely would not have been there was that he hadn’t come but once or twice during the last eight months. The reason he was there was quite likely because three of our elders had gone down to the hospital at Kansas City to pray for his step-daughter three weeks ago when she was in the hospital.
He stepped out to the edge of the aisle and reached for my hand, “I just want you to know that your message today is going to change my life.” He quickly described how a major focus in his life that he had intended to dramatically increase his income was not working out as he had hoped. “All it’s really doing is taking me away from my family,” he confessed. “I’m going to be making some big changes because of your sermon today.”
It had never entered my mind that he was someone who sorely needed to hear that sermon. I’m also pretty sure that he had no idea how much I needed this affirmation after months of discouraging direction in the church.
God’s timing usually works out about right, I think.