Friday, July 24th 2 Kings 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. 2 Kings 4:42-44

It happens all the time but I never really noticed it until I was in a training class on the 11th floor of the Lutheran Center in Chicago for my orientation to the position I currently hold in our synod. I was one of the first in the room so I took my customary seat in the back row. I watched the other people filing in – and that is when I noticed it.

The scramble to get seats within power cord reach of their laptops.

Being the back row has its benefits. I’m tall so I sit there without worries that I’m blocking someone else’s view. But I also, without even thinking about it, ended up close to the wall outlet for my power cord. The latecomers scrambled for “power seats” and those in the middle were just out of luck. Evidently that training room was built without regard for the computer age. Notebook paper is power free.

At some point the illustration hit me. How is it that we can be so cognizant of the need to plug in to the wall to power our laptops but so forgetful when it comes to plugging into the power of God to power our lives?

What shall we call this? This tendency of ours to live life on our own steam, to be driven by our own needs, desires and dreams with nary a thought as to what God might be thinking? How much pride, ego, anxiety and failure is driven by that kind of spiritual amnesia that leads us to forget who we are and Whose we are? Maybe we could call it “selective consciousness”?

Elisha’s short story demonstrates a very different orientation. He draws on God’s power over and over again. In just the first four chapters of 2 Kings – when the river got in the way, Elisha parted it. When the well water was bitter, Elisha purified it. When the Shunammite woman’s son died, Elisha revived him. When there was famine in the land, Elisha fed the people stew and bread. Again and again, without a thought or a doubt, Elisha called on the power of God and God delivered.

Here’s the invitation – plug in to the power of God and amazing things can happen!

36,000 kids are still in New Orleans. They are covering the city every day with over 200 servant projects. They will be part of a city-wide health clinic tomorrow. They are experiencing something together they never imagined – the power of God’s love focused intently through them to make a lasting difference in a hurting city – and every night they gather in the Superdome to celebrate.

I hope they make a deeper connection. I hope they see that the power isn’t in their numbers. I hope they see that the power isn’t in the planning or the logistics. I hope they see that the Power lies in God and that they won’t be leaving it behind when their buses head back home. The power of love. The power of hospitality. The power of sharing time, talents and treasure.

The power of making a difference because we are plugged in to the power of God who makes US different.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, thank you so much for the promise that you will never leave us or abandon us. Thank you for never giving up on us, even when we stray off on our own. Thank you for the power of your love flowing through us whenever we give ourselves away. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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