I have a confession to make. I’m a naptime snob. It’s true. I admit it. But not because I like to nap. Simply because it’s “my time.” To do what I want. Which generally involves writing to you lovely people. However a few weeks ago it involved waiting four hours (yes four hours) at three different pharmacies for three antibiotics my farmer needed if he was gonna continue to have sight in his left eye (obviously something we all want). But I was livid. This was NOT how I had hoped to spend my naptime. Not at all what I had planned.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 18:1-15
Key Verse: “Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24)
Never mind the necessity of it. Never mind my man lying at home in extreme pain. Never mind the divine appointment God had for me once I finally surrendered my attitude. Never mind. Because I just wasn’t happy. And life should be all about making me happy right? Wrong. I can’t help but wonder what other divine appointments blessings I could have gained had my attitude been one of service at the start?!
Perhaps a little more like Abraham’s. It was naptime at their house too. Or at least time to escape the hot sun. So Abraham sat at the door of his tent. When he looked up three men were standing in front of him. Instead of lamenting the fact his siesta had been cut short. Instead of being irritated at the sudden change of plans. Instead of encouraging them to come at a more convenient time. He ran to them. Ran! And “bowed himself to the earth” begging them to stay. To rest. To wash up. And eat something – a morsel of bread perhaps (v. 5).
But he had no intention of just serving them bread. With their permission Abraham “went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes”” (v.6). (Do you hear the urgency in his voice.) I wonder what kind of intrusion this was on Sarah’s afternoon? Was she resting? Was she a bit peeved at the abrupt order from her husband? Three seahs is equal to 21 quarts or just over five gallons of flour. He wasn’t just asking her to pull the Sara Lee out of the pantry.
Then he ran to the herd. Picked out a calf “tender and good” and gave it to a young man to roast quickly! The word “good” is the same word God used over and over to describe his creation in Genesis 1. This wasn’t just any calf. This was the best one Abraham had. A choice calf. And he offered it to his visitors while he stood under the tree and watched. Stood. As a servant would – ready and waiting.
Never mind the intrusion on his day. Never mind the fact that it smelled soooo good. Never mind his 99 year old body. The LORD had come for supper. Did Abraham know it? In my humble opinion I think so. When Abraham addressed the men he used the Hebrew term Adonay – a name set apart for God alone. Instead of Adoni – a common but polite form of respect. And the Hebrew word for bowed can also be translated worship. Indicating Abraham’s bow was likely more than just a gesture of courtesy.
Not to mention this was not the first time God had appeared to him (see Gen. 17:22); though it’s the first time the text actually says he appeared as a man. And it hadn’t been long since his previous appearance. If you compare Genesis 17:21 and 18:9 the Lord says in both instances Sarah will have a baby this time next year. The consistency in wording alludes to a very small gap of time. (Though long enough Abraham was able to run after his circumcision.)
So there ya have it. If Abraham recognized one of the men as God no wonder his response was so enthusiastic. Right? Well…maybe. But it also begs the question…would I do the same? If God showed up on my doorstep would I welcome him with the same eagerness Abraham did? Would I pull out all the stops? Give of my absolute best?
I’d like to think so. But the fact of the matter is we see God all the time. In creation (Rom. 1:20). In answered prayer. In the unexplainable. The repentant sinner. The unexpected provision. The blessing of today. The peace for tomorrow. We see him. Yet does it make a difference? Do we run to God in the morning with an excitement and enthusiasm to serve him?
No, I don’t think it’s a matter of seeing. I think it’s a matter of believing. That God is who he says he is. And will do all he has said he will do. Abraham had been told just days before God was going to give him a son by Sarah. And Abraham believed God. So out of gratitude for what God was about to do in his life he ran to him eagerly. He served him. He gave of his best.
Because that’s what God deserves. Always. Our absolute best. We owe him everything. He owes us nothing. Yet he gives us everything. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). Oh that we might serve God with the enthusiasm he deserves. Eager every day to accomplish his purposes. That the world might see a generation of Christians excited about their God. Enthusiastic in their faith. Set apart wholeheartedly to serve Jesus.
Let’s not just squeeze him in when we have time. Let’s not merely serve God what’s leftover. Let’s not be lukewarm. Let’s be enthusiastic about the God of grace and mercy; the God of steadfast love and faithfulness. The God that showed his love for us “in that while we were still sinners, died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The God that justified us by his blood, saving us from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9).
My dear friend, “fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:24).
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you eager to serve and spend time with God? Or does he merely get what’s left in the day?
How might an enthusiasm for the things of God encourage your friends, neighbors, children? What impact might a lack of enthusiasm have?