Sometimes we give up too easily, shrugging our shoulders and saying, “I guess it was just not meant to be.”
Not Ricardo. Ricardo is the Willow Creek Association’s tech guy for the Global Leadership Summits in the Caribbean. He’s been at the two conferences I’ve attended in a certain country in the Caribbean. (By the way, Ricardo isn’t his real name, and I’m not mentioning the country just in case. I don’t want this story on the internet to get some kind of alert put on his visa in the future. Probably a little bit paranoid, but better safe than sorry.)
When going through customs for last February’s conference, he carried a suitcase full of useful electronic equipment for the conference, equipment that he would leave with the church. For no apparent reason, his luggage was targeted and he was told he would have to leave half of the equipment in customs.
He didn’t complain. He smiled and told the two customs officials that he knew they were only doing their job.
After they laid everything out on a table, there was a pile of ten connectors. He grabbed about eight and said, “Half for me and half for you.” Then he grabbed a bunch of wires, all the wires, and said, “These won’t be useful for you because they are an odd size.” He grabbed one item and said, “Here, you guys take this.” Then he grabbed a armful of the same thing and said, “I’ll take this.”
The two custom officials looked at each other and one said, “If we let him continue at this pace, he’ll have it all.”
He ended up with all he really needed and much more than half of the materials! And the best part was hearing Ricardo tell the story.
I was reminded of Ricardo this week as I worked on the last two sermons in Ruth. Ruth is a hard worker. Naomi is shrewd. Boaz is generous and compassionate (and, next week, we’ll also see his shrewd side).
The book of Ruth shows that God is at work behind the scenes of our lives. We wait while he works. But in our waiting, we are not idle. That’s the gist of what we’re focusing on this week.
Your presence is important because you will be God’s means of working in the lives of others when we gather for worship. Your voice praising God, your greeting to a fellow worshiper, your service to the body of Christ, they all will be used by God to encourage and equip others as they seek God and seek to live for him.