Momentum (Christ – centred, Spirit – empowered, Mission – focused)
I am a focused leader, and I find interruptions to my plans frustrating. Recently, I visited the national office of the U.S. Christian and Missionary Alliance, in Colorado Springs. I was looking forward to meeting with the President, Gary Benedict, and spending a few days in meetings with his Board of Directors. I wanted to make a good impression and had packed my best suit for the occasion. I arrived in Colorado Springs at 11 p.m. and, after a long and painful wait at the baggage carousel, I realized that my suitcase had not made the trip. After a frustrating conversation with the airline customer service representative, I realized that I was on my own. I needed to find a taxi, and I hoped that the driver would be able to take me to a 24-hour Walmart to assist me in salvaging some dignity before my meetings in the morning.
I exited the airport terminal and was immediately met by a large, tattooed, ominous-looking taxi driver named Matthew. Matthew was a former gang member who had come to Colorado Springs to spread his younger brother’s ashes from one of the spectacular lookouts in the nearby Rocky Mountains. (His brother had been shot to death in gang violence.) He fell in love with the area and decided to stay. Over the next 90 minutes, Matthew told me his story. He shared about how he was raised in a dangerous neighbourhood filled with fear, violence and death. He joined a gang early in his teens to survive and had hoped that he could begin a new life in Colorado Springs. However, his anger at life and painful memories of the past still haunted him. He had gone through a breakup with his wife and was sharing custody of his young daughter. He was very alone and often wondered whether there was any hope.
As I listened to Matthew, I became aware of why my suitcase had not arrived. This was a “divine inconvenience.” God loved Matthew so much that he wanted to provide a safe place for him in which to pour out his heart. At the end of our journey, I affirmed to Matthew that he is loved, and that I would personally pray for him every day. His face broke into a smile as he declared, “I sure need prayer.” As I exited the taxi, I felt a profound sense of love fill my heart for Matthew. The frustration and anger over the lost suitcase was gone, and in its place was a renewed sense of mission. Simpson affirmed that, as part of the “trust” that the Alliance has been given, we stand for a spirit of self-sacrifice, adjustment, adaptation and single-hearted love for people. He affirmed that we are called to a spirit so possessed with one supreme object to gain men and women for Christ that it sweeps over every other consideration in its overmastering purpose of love (“The Challenge of Missions” 1926).
I once again committed my life to being driven by this overmastering purpose of love. We are entering into our Advent season, and the level of activity will increase dramatically. With so many things to accomplish, and without a clear focus and determination, you will quickly be overwhelmed. My call to you is to be prepared for the “divine inconveniences” that will most certainly confront and challenge you in these days ahead. Look for your “Matthews”; these encounters will call you back to the deepest reason for your existence. I thank God for my “divine inconvenience”; it has recalibrated my soul and captured my heart once again.
“God has given us a Christ that is real, a Comforter that fills the heart, a love that lifts us above ourselves” — A.B. Simpson
Please find the original version in C&MA website