My work place.
My Doctor's office.
A particular social gathering.
On the phone with a person I didn't want to talk to.
I'm sure you could name places and times of your own.
I've wanted to cut and run at those times. I couldn't take one more minute of what was going on. I did not want to be there - sometimes with THOSE people - one minute more.
Yet Jesus says to us "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but, if it dies, it produces much fruit.... Whoever serves Me must follow Me, and where I am, there also will my servant be." (John 12: 24-26.)
It's easy to say with our lips that we worship God. But, we have to allow our own small, egotistical selves, our own negative thoughts, feelings, and reactions, to die - in order to TRULY follow Jesus.
Jesus never counted the cost. He reached out, in spite of heavy criticism, to people whom everyone else had written off. An adulteress. A hated tax collector who ripped his own people off. An outsider like a Roman centurion. A possessed boy. People with disabilities, either mental or physical. All the types of people whom we, if we're honest, don't always want to be around, or never want to be around.
The risen Jesus still lives. Still works in the world. He wants to work through us, His servants.
You mean, He's asking me to follow Him - WHERE??? To WHOM???
The Kingdom of God is within us. Our deepest selves - our selves way past and deeper than those floods of negative emotions and desires to protect ourselves at the expense of everyone or everything else - our deepest selves inside us are united to God.
If we remain open to God within us, God enlightens our hearts and minds, gives us greater depths of understanding and compassion. Now, in this terrible place, at this terrible time, God is asking us to be His servants, with these people, in this situation.
For God, every place is the right place and every time is the right time, for Him to reach out, through His servant, to touch a soul. To heal a life. To comfort. To console. To challenge. To love. To simply be with. To be patient with.
Sometimes I think that before we're capable of being a servant of Jesus, it's necessary for us to realize that we're not perfect. To admit honestly that God has had to forgive US. We don't want to admit to ourselves that we have to be forgiven by God:
For losing our tempers.
For being insulting or inappropriate.
For having disabled hearts.
For being so uncaring that we are bored and boring because we are not investing in a relationship or a situation.
For secretly believing that we are superior to the people around us - who also just happen to be made in God's Image.
"Where I am, there also will my servant be."
Jesus will teach us, minute by minute, how to be His servant.
If we REALLY choose to follow Him. And we have to re-choose, minute by minute, day by day, time after time, place after place.