by pastor Andy Lauer
Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion is to do this after you have dinner around the table together. At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.
Read Luke 2:22-40
Growing up as a child in Ohio I remember spending many nights listening to Cincinnati Reds’ baseball games over the radio waves of station 700 WLW. I was fascinated with the way that the announcers could make the game come alive. I especially loved when the Reds won and Marty Brennaman would proclaim “And this one belongs to the Reds!” or Joe Nuxhall would sign off with “This is the ‘Old Lefthander’ rounding third and heading for home.”
When Barbie and I moved to Kansas City, for some reason the Reds weren’t on the local radio stations. Instead all I could find was an American League team called the Royals. Sadly, I thought those evenings of relaxing to the sounds of Reds’ baseball were over.
But then Ev Leadingham, a friend at the Nazarene Headquarters and fellow Ohioan, told me that on some clear evenings, if you had your radio antenna just right, you could actually pick up 700 WLW and hear the Reds’ broadcast. You can bet I went home that night and tried. And sure enough, if everything was in the right place, the sweet sounds of the boys of summer came through just well enough to hear.
One of my favorite persons in the Bible is a man named Simeon. His story is one of being in just the right place at the right time. Simeon was an old Jewish man who lived during the years leading up to Jesus’ birth. Simeon had waited his entire life to see the Savior (the Jews, in fact, had been waiting centuries), and God had promised him that he would not die until he did, and as with all of God’s promises, when we obey, God delivers. The account of the baby Jesus’ presentation in the temple and of Simeon’s encounter with Him stands out to me as a beautiful account of being in the right place at the right time. But the real beauty of that account is how Simeon got to be in that place to see the Savior in person.
I suppose Simeon could have taken the promise from the Holy Spirit and just stayed at home assuming that one day the Savior would come knocking on his door. But he didn’t do that. Instead, he obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and headed to the Temple (today’s church), and it was there at the temple that he had the awesome privilege very few have ever had—he held the Savior (and Creator) of the universe in his arms It was Simeon’s listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit of God that put him in just the right place, at just the right time for this miraculous encounter.
Today, we know that the Savior, God himself, has entered our world in Jesus Christ—He is, as we’re reminded each Christmas, Immanuel–God with us. But Simeon’s encounter is not just a Christmas story—it’s a message for each and every day of our lives, especially during difficult or uncertain times. God wants to do some amazing things in and through our lives; in fact, He created us not for mediocrity but for His glory. However, if we don’t heed the Holy Spirit’s voice each and every day, if we don’t obey Him and put ourselves in a position to see and experience God’s work, then we may very well miss seeing the fulfillment of some of God’s promises in our lives.
My prayer today is that each of us intentionally, and under the guidance of God’s Word and His Spirit, put ourselves in the position to fully participate in God’s design for our lives and the lives of those with whom we come in contact.
As you listen to the following song consider whether you’re putting yourself in the right place and right time to experience God’s work by trusting and obeying His word and the voice of His Spirit.
Use the following prayer as you spend time talking with the Lord today:
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times when I’ve not been attentive to Your voice or have not obeyed Your guidance. Open my ears and my heart to listen and obey You more closely so that I will always be right where You want me and can experience Your promises and accomplish Your will. Amen.
Reflect on these questions with someone else or on your own:
- Has there been a time when, looking back, you missed out on something God might have done in your life because you were not where He wanted/needed you at the moment? What did you learn from that experience?
- Think about a time when you were obedient to God–right where He wanted you. What happened? What did you learn from that experience?
- Do you often find yourself living like Simeon? Why or why not?
- What steps can you take today to begin listening more closely to God and being in position to hear and do His will for your life?