Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letting Lucy Lead by Marcia Lee Laycock

I’ve just returned from four days on the road, traveling to various communities and speaking to Christian women’s groups. Three of those engagements were in a large city that I’m not terribly familiar with. So I took the time before leaving to check on the internet for the locations of each event. Using an internet application I was even able to find out exactly how long it would take me to get from A to B. I printed out the directions and maps and felt well prepared. Just to be safe I also took our trusty GPS along.

For those who might not know, GPS stands for Global Positioning Satellite. It truly is an amazing little gadget. You type in the city and address and a screen lights up with a map and your position is monitored as you drive. Then a friendly voice tells you where to go and when to turn right or left. As I turned it on before leaving for a venue that was in the very heart of the city, I thought there would be no way I could get lost or confused. Famous last words!

You see the map and directions I had copied from the internet did not match with what my GPS was telling me. To make things worse I was heading into the downtown core at the height of the morning rush hour. The traffic was bumper to bumper. The radio had told me there was a city-wide teachers’ convention on that morning so the traffic was expected to be even worse than usual. Great, I thought, and my information is contradictory.

As the lilting GPS voice (I call her Lucy) directed me to turn right, I glanced at the written directions I had printed out. Turning right didn’t make sense. I turned left and ended up where I didn’t want to be. Then I remembered my husband telling me about the training given pilots in the military. They are taught how to fly blind – literally. The cockpit is covered so they can’t see a thing and have to rely entirely on their instruments to take off, fly and then land the aircraft. The number one rule is, believe what the instruments say. Don’t rely on your own understanding.

So I turned left and found myself heading into what looked like a residential area. That made me nervous. But Lucy said turn left, so I did. Then left again, and suddenly I was at an intersection. Left one more time, and Lucy triumphantly announced I was “arriving at destination, on right.” I looked up and sure enough, there was the hotel where the meeting was being held. Letting Lucy lead me had proven the best course. There was no need to worry.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make sense to follow what God wants us to do. Logic can dictate a different course of action and we often worry. But God’s ways are higher than ours. Like Lucy, He is able to see from a clear vantage point. He knows the beginning and the end and the winding route in between. He knows exactly the best route for each one of us.

Proverbs 3:5&6 says it best – “Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
God will always get us to where we need to be. No need to worry. Much need to trust.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Sermon Just for Me by Marcia Lee Laycock

Last Sunday, as I settled in my chair I prayed a quick prayer.

“Talk to me, Lord.”

My husband tends to be a spontaneous person and I’ve gotten used to him doing unexpected things. Sometimes. But last Sunday he surprised me by announcing that I was going to give my testimony that morning, in 3 minutes or less.

He hadn’t warned me about this, probably because he didn’t know he was going to do it until that very moment. As I walked up to the front I was thinking, "Good thing I’m good at public speaking. The testimony part is a breeze, but in 3 minutes?" No doubt he gave me a time limit because he knows my tendency to go on and on. He did have a sermon to preach that morning. So I did what he asked and all went well. As I expected it would.

Then my husband got up to preach. The sermon was on Mark 12:41-44 – a short passage of scripture that seemed straightforward as he read it out loud. The widow gave all she had. She was extremely generous. She put the religious leaders to shame. But my husband, bless him, took a different tack when he said, this little bit of scripture is really about pride and humility.

Huh?

I felt God tapping me on the shoulder. I was feeling quite self-satisfied, having just given my testimony clearly, with just the right emphasis. In fact I was thinking, "I really am good at this."
The more my favourite preacher spoke the more I felt like crawling under my chair. I knew that what had just happened was no coincidence.

God was talking to me but I wasn’t particularly happy to hear it.

Then my favourite preacher started talking about generosity. Okay, that’s better. I sat up a bit. Then he said, “the core of generosity is humility.” Oh. And he gave Haddon Robinson’s definition – “humility is confidence properly placed.”

Oh dear.

When Proverbs 29:23 appeared in big bold letters on the screen I had to grin just a little. “Pride brings you low.”

Right. I really should remember that.

I was encouraged, when my husband acknowledged that he, and everyone else in the room, all struggle with pride. It’s a big part of the human condition. The trick is to catch ourselves at it, repent of it, and put ourselves back in the place where we all need to be, at the feet of Jesus. Confidence properly placed.

Right. I definitely have to remember that.

P.S. - If you'd like to hear my favourite preacher's sermon, go here and click on The Widow's Mite at bottom right.