A Snapshot in Time

This is a re-post of a note I published December 2, 2014 on Facebook. I am transferring my notes from Facebook into my Float the River blog.

This past Sunday at Verde Baptist, one of our pastors opened the Advent season by preaching from Matthew 2 and calling our attention to what is traditionally known as “The Three Wise Men”. As many know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I love the Christmas story, every bit of it. I will never grow tired of reading it, preaching/teaching it, talking aboutit, and hearing others teach on it. My heart and mind have an unending fascination with all of the various components of the biblical account of the incarnation of the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.

What captured my heart’s attention that morning though, really had nothing to do with Christmas. In opening his message, he referenced the obscure nature of who these men were. They appear out of nowhere, without warning, and disappear just as quickly, never to be heard from again. The more I pondered this (pondering, that is a good thing to do, you know!), the more I was struck by the fact of how normal that is in the biblical record. With relatively few exceptions, much of the historical record of the Bible is filled with people who played significant roles in specific situations but without much fanfare, usually in obscurity, often remaining nameless, and ultimately disappearing into history.

They were mostly common people, living common lives, who were completely unaware of their sovereignly appointed role in the unveiling of God’s eternal purposes. Their lives were just like any other, in fact, very similar to ours. They were born, they had a childhood, they grew into adults, and they died. Along the way they shared the same struggles and joys, failings and frustrations, hopes and dreams as the rest of us. They had families and friends. All we are allowed to see of them though is a significant snapshot of a moment or two in time.

What a great picture of life that is for of all of us. Our lives are filled with snapshots in time. While we see our lives as one long drama, the world around us experiences us only in snapshots. How many people are with us, close to us, experiencing us for long periods of time? Think of all the kids you went to school with, all the people you have worked with, all the people you have had contact with in your life. With very few exceptions, you were only snapshots in their lives.

The question is, what will those snapshots look like?

God appoints us to come into people’s lives much like the Magi in the Christmas story. We step into their world unexpectedly and more often than not, one day we will be gone, onto to other snapshots. The size of the snapshot and its purpose are unknown to us. That knowledge belongs only to God. We are called to be faithful to the time that is given to us. We are called to be ready for every good deed, to always be ready to make a defense of our hope in Christ, to be a witness for our Lord and Savior. We are called to bear the burdens of those God places into our lives and love them as Jesus has loved us.

I did not want to go to work this morning. I was cranky and feeling pretty down (for reasons that were completely unimportant). As I was driving the short distance from home to Walmart I was reminded of this simple truth: Today was one of those God ordained snapshots. I wasn’t supposed to be there but at the last minute this morning my manager needed me to come in. I knew nothing of what today was going to bring but I very quickly realized that I didn’t have the freedom to act how I was feeling. Each interaction, each job I was asked to do, each person I needed to assist was my opportunity to step into people’s lives. I was going to be there for 8 hours and be gone. What that snapshot would look like had nothing to do with how the events of the day unfolded. On the contrary, this moment in time would only be shaped by whether I would submit my place in each of the day’s snapshots to what my Creator, Savior, and Lord wanted me to be.

I have no idea how long we will be here in Cottonwood, how long I will be working at Walmart, or how long I will be leading the Wednesday evening group at Verde Baptist. What I do know is it is orchestrated by my Lord and I pray it turns out to be a significant snapshot in this moment of time.

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