Last night I travelled from my home town to Leesburg, FL for the United Methodist Men’s retreat. I have never attended one before, but travelled with excitement and anticipation about what i might see the Lord do in these men this weekend. We all arrived on time and made it through dinner and into the first main session together.
It was a disaster.
The sound system was not being operated well and therefore microphones, instruments, etc were not bring sound through; powerpoint slides were not there with words of songs on. The announcements lasted as long as the sermon. The sermon was in fact the only redeeming event in an otherwise disappointing evening It was embarrassing and represented a retreat that has been pulled together with little preparation and very little attention to the importance of putting on something with excellence when you are asking people to pay for it. I was literally embarrassed that I had brought men from my church here and I was saddened at what they must have been thinking. I shared some of it with my roommate who said he understood my complaints given that I am a planner and organizer myself. He himself enjoyed it and felt God’s presence in and through it.
Then in Ephesians this morning, I read that I am to let only affirming and encouraging words of love come out of my mouth. Put away division and anger, the writer commands. When I read that, I was left feeling a sense of guilt about the things I have said about this conference so far. Instead of complaining about it – I must enter into it and allow God to be at work through it. The truth is that, so far, it is not my cup of tea. However, that does not mean that God’s grace cannot come through it and meet with any of us in this place at any time and in any way.
So my response must change. As I pray today that God would continue to make me holy and show my what it means to be set apart for him in my life, today my choice needs to be to enter in and expect the Lord to move in the lives of these men. Come Holy Spirit and work in them all and work in me.
The Lord moves in mysterious ways. He chose a terribly planned and thrown together session last night to reveal to me the work that needs to take place in my own heart. Come, Lord, and do your work in me and in everyone else for whom you have plans this weekend.