• Steven Marsh

Serving–Who or What Claims Your Time for Attention: a Reflection on 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 and M

Dennis, a young man from Ghana, was involved in my ministry when I served as Senior Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kansas (2006-2011). He returned to Ghana in 2009, to assist his good friend, John Atta Mills who was elected Ghana’s President (2009-2012). President Mills claimed time on fathers for their attention. In Ghana, many homes suffer from what is called “the father problem.” In some homes the father is absent. And in other homes, he is hardly there because he is so busy. The result of the father problem is thousands of children living on the streets.

Dennis received John Atta Mills’ claim on his time for attention. I remember Dennis describing to me how he saw the face of Jesus in his friend and knew his heart for the people of Ghana, particularly fathers. I was amazed listening to my brother. You see, Jesus’ face is inviting, for it reflects an enthusiasm for our wellbeing. Our lives as followers of Jesus are winsome and those whom we encounter will begin to ask why and how that difference came about. Paul admonishes us in 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 to be generous in all that we have. Dennis modelled such generosity in his return to Ghana; honoring President Mills’ claim on his time for attention.

When you respond to God’s regeneration of your soul and say “yes” to Jesus Christ, you have accepted God’s claim on your time for attention. Our text in Mark 5:21-43, retells the stories of two miracles. Both stories involve women, one twelve years old who had died and the other suffering with blood hemorrhages for twelve years. Both Jairus, on behalf of his daughter, and the woman suffering from blood hemorrhaging, displayed faith that God heals. These examples of individuals claiming Jesus’ time for attention force us to examine our own lives. How do you claim time on Jesus for attention? You believe God has your best interest in mind? And how do you encourage others to do the same?[1]Jairus would have lived a marginalized existence had he not come to Jesus believing that he was able to heal and restore his sick daughter. The ailing woman with the issue of blood would have continued living a marginalized existence had she not believed in Jesus, pursued him in the crowd, and touched his garment.

What we do in times of multi-tasking, when many voices are claiming time for our attention, and to be quite honest creating difficulty in decision making, depends on if we see the difficulty in the light of God, or God in the shadow of the difficulty. Who might be claiming your time for attention? That individual may need the healing touch of God the Father. Rebecca Manley Pippert in Out of the Salt Shaker & into the World writes, “Jesus tells us that we are salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). Jesus does not say that we are to become light. Jesus says, ‘You are light.’ So, we must begin reflecting who we really are and not try to hide it.”[2]If you love Jesus, in faith, reach out to him and live as you have been created. Demonstrate faith in God that you have the time to bring others to a face to face encounter with Jesus.

Who or what claims your time for attention? At Geneva, we aspire to be followers of Jesus who are about remembering, telling, and living the way of Jesus. We want to be the best Jesus someone sees. Others claim your time for attention, because they hear the voice of Jesus in your words or see the deeds of Jesus in your actions. They warrant your time. Be salt and light. Be generous.

[1] Some ideas germinated after reading Beverly Zink-Sawyer in David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, editors, Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 3 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 193.

[2]Rebecca Manley Pippert, Out of the Salt Shaker & into the World (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 77.

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