Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Trying to Catch God

Suggested Reading: Luke 8:11-21

I used to pastor a little country church called Lone Oak Baptist Church in Snook, TX. Snook is right outside College Station. In fact, if you take the main highway out of Snook it turns into University Dr. and takes you right past Texas A&M. Driving back and forth on that road, I'm reminded of the first time I ever stopped in College Station. I was with the Hardin-Simmons University Concert Choir on our annual tour and we had stopped to eat at FreeBirds across the street from the A&M Campus. When I was done eating, I decided to wander onto campus (for the half-hour I had before the bus left) and look around. I was hoping to run into a friend of mine who attended A&M, but didn't hold out much hope for it. After all, A&M was a huge campus with tens of thousands of students and he didn't know I was coming. But I found a student center, walked in, and he was sitting against a wall studying for class. The odds were astronomical that I would actually catch him that way, but it just happened to work out.

In Luke 8:19, Jesus' family comes to see him but they are "unable to get near him because of the crowds" (NIV). As I was studying that particular passage, I discovered that the Greek word translated "get near him" literally means "to fall in with, as if by accident." In other words, Jesus' family had come to town and they were hoping to catch Jesus. It wasn't something they had prearranged. There was no plan in place. They had simply come to town for one reason or another and were hoping to catch him.

Unfortunately, that is the way that we often treat our relationship with God. We have other things that we are trying to accomplish, work that has to be done, family obligations to attend to, friends to see, business to work out, and we hope that somewhere along the way, as we attend to all these other things, that we will have a few moments where we happen to catch God.  We have no prearranged plan; meeting with God is not a big enough priority to merit setting aside a block of time. We just hope to catch God in a few spare minutes while we are on our way to accomplish something else.

The problem with trying to "catch" God is that actually catching God is a rare thing. We always have something else that needs to be done, someone else to see, a few minutes of rest to re-energize ourselves for the rest of the day's activities. There is always something else to do. If we leave our relationship with God up to the times where we can "catch" God, pretty soon any relationship we actually have will deteriorate. We might catch God from time to time, but most of the time it simply won't happen.

Are you satisfied with just catching God when you have a chance? If not, you're going to have to plan. Set some time aside to be with God and make it a priority or you just might miss your chance.

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