God Made Appointments

I have spent much of my afternoon today, trying to "sync" the calendars on my Ipad to my new Iphone, along with my paper wall calendar, so I know where I'm supposed to be, and when I'm supposed to be there in the next few months.

One of the hardest things about changing ministries for me, is trying to get used to a new calendar schedule! Certainly the dates on the calendars stay the same, but the events on those calendar dates can change a lot!

Its interesting as I think about my calendars and the appointments that I need to make and keep, to think about some of the appointments that our Savior had to make, and keep.

I shared these thoughts with my deacons several nights ago during out last deacon's meetings, and thought that I might share them on my blog of thoughts as well.

Oddly enough, the appointments that Jesus had to make though were not doctor's appointments, or financial advisor appointments, but they were about appointments that He made with people, either preplanned or just randomly on the spot. Yet, each of the appointments that He made, consisted of time spent often with those considered outcasts of society.

The first appointment that comes to mind is the time that Christ had dinner with a tax collector.
Luke 19, finds us introduced to a man named Zacchaeus, whom the Bible tells us was the chief of the tax collectors. Today we might call this position the supervisor or manager of the tax collectors. He hears that Jesus is coming, and being a shorter individual he climbs quickly up into a tree, because he wants to see this man named Jesus who is coming down the road. Crowds of people have gathered, and he can't see Jesus, so he climbs up to get a good glance of this "special" man. But it is there while he is in the tree, that Jesus walks over to the tree, calls out to the man and says, "Zacchaeus, you need to come down. I have intentions of going to your house today so that I might eat dinner with you." Imagine the shock that might have crossed Zacchaeus' face! Here is a man that first of all knows his name, and not only that but He wants to invite Himself to dinner? Nobody ever came to dinner at a tax collectors house except for other tax collectors, not to mention the fact that he is the Chief tax collector! We need to understand that Jesus had a reason for wanting to take time out of His schedule for this society outcast. If you remember correctly one of Jesus' followers Matthew was also a tax collector, and Jesus said to him, "Follow Me.", and he did! Society may not have accepted the tax collectors, but Christ sure did, He loved them just as He loves you and me.

Another appointment that I can recall was when Jesus healed a leper man. Mark 1:38-45
Jesus was preaching throughout the land, and is approached by a leper man. Now, a leper was an individual stricken by the disease of leprosy. A disease that often times caused sores upon an individuals body that oozed, and often times caused body parts to eventually actually fall off. According to the Old Testament law to have leprosy made one unclean, and there were special things that had to be done by those that had leprosy. The first thing that happened was that the leprous individual had to leave town and often went to live in a leprous colony, filled with others that had leprosy. Whenever they were walking down the road, and someone was coming from the opposite direction they were to cross the road and call out, "Unclean! Unclean!" So that others knew to avoid them, and then if and when they got better, they had to go before a priest for a physical examination in order to be deemed "Clean" again.
Talk about humiliation! Yet, Jesus we see takes time to speak with this man, and heal him. Notice not only does He speak to the man, but He also "Touches" the man. Talk about an ancient taboo! Could Jesus not have just healed the man by using words? Yes, but here He reaches out and physically, lovingly touches the unclean man.

Thirdly, the last appointment that I want to touch on briefly, although hundreds of other accounts are also applicable to this posting, is the account of the Samaritan woman at the well. John 4

After leaving Judea, Jesus is traveling to Galilee, but He decides to walk through the land of Samaria.
Now at first we do not think this odd, but to a Jew it would have been the last thing they would have done. The Jews despised the Samaritans, thinking of them as "half-breeds". These Samaritans were Jews that had been left after the captivity and had since married "outsiders" so they were not full blooded Jews, so they were also considered outcasts by society. A Jew would have gone an extra days journey to avoid traveling through this land, but the Bible says to us that Jesus had "needs to go through" or as I would put it, "He had a divine intervention appointment".
You see, Jesus travels into the land, and He stops at a well where He asks a woman for a drink of water. This sparks a conversation where Jesus is able to present himself to a Samaritan woman as the Son of God, the Living Water.
Here again, Jesus has had an appointment with a societal outcast.

If Jesus is to be our example, how often do we reach out to those that are considered, "Society's Outcasts"? The weak, the feeble, strong, and mighty, both young and old. We are surrounded daily by those that need the Lord, but are we to busy to make time in our schedules to meet with them? Are we so caught up in our rush of life, that we cannot take time to speak with those that need a word of encouragement? What about the cashier at the grocer? What about that telemarketer that calls at only inconvenient times? Does the individual that walks past your home need someone to talk to? Have you said a kind word to your neighborhood postal worker or neighbor recently? Have you struck up a conversation with just someone in an aisle at Wal-Mart?

I believe that God has set up for us many different "appointments", but the problem is, is that often times we find ourselves late for them, or ignorant of them.

As a man, when I go my doctor appointments, I know that I should be truthful in my aches and pains, etc...but how often when the doctor says, "Do you have any questions?" Do I just keep my mouth shut? Do I do the same in my God set-up appointments as well? Do I keep my mouth shut for fear of what might come next, or do I take that step of faith, and give an encouraging word or build a relationship?

God, help me to take steps to get outside of my comfort zone. Help me to realize that I am surrounded by outcast individuals, all in need of a Savior, and help me to be that light that shines as a beacon of truth and love. Amen.