Monday, September 28, 2009

"One Missed Call"

My parents recently went on a fabulous trip, the trip of a lifetime. They went to Bergamo, Italy, for a ceremony honoring my late grandfather, William Sinclair Ashbrook, Jr. They were gone for 10 days. And I talk to my parents at least four or five times a week, so this was a long time to be out of touch.

I knew they were coming back on September 19th, sometime in the afternoon. I was anxiously awaiting the call, so I had my cell phone nearby all day. However, that day was also the day of my sister-in-law's baby shower. Which I was co-hosting. So you can imagine, I was a little preoccupied.

I'd been running around, doing errands, all the while listening for the phone. I had just completed one last chore and was headed home, when one of my favorite songs came on the radio. So I rolled the windows down, turned the volume up, and started singing away!
When I got home, I checked my phone as I was getting out of the car. 1 Missed Call. Bummer! It was my parents, and an exhausted sounding voice mail told me they were on a layover in New York City. By the time I called, it was too late. They were airborne.

There were two things working against me here. First, I wasn't paying attention. I was busy, distracted. Second, I wasn't listening. I had the radio going full blast, and was singing away at the top of my lungs.

I wonder how many times I've done this in my spiritual life? Just cruising along, letting life distract me. Not listening. Not paying attention to my relationship with God. The result? One Missed Call.

Something interesting to note. I wasn't doing anything wrong. Getting ready for the shower. Listening to the radio. But my priority that day was to talk to my parents. And since I wasn't paying attention, I missed my chance to hear about Italy, and make sure they'd made it home safely.

So here's a little parallel on the importance of hearing...and answering...the call. Take Philip. Philip was one of the first traveling missionaries we hear about in the New Testament. He was one of the seven chosen by the disciples to administer food and goods to the new believers, and a powerful evangelist. In fact, he was on fire. Turning Jews and Gentiles into Christians right and left in Samaria. And that's where he was when this happened, Acts 8:26 - "As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, 'Go south, down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.'"

Now, let's put ourselves in Philip's shoes. His ministry in Samaria was very successful. He was preaching to great crowds, and the response? Amazing! He was watching the Holy Spirit fill the hearts of those who previously had not even believed in the Jews' God. Let me tell you, I wouldn't want to go. Especially down a long, isolated road that ran straight through the desert. Hot. Dusty. No thanks.

But look at the next verse, Acts 8:27 - "So he did, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the queen of Ethiopia."

Whoa. The treasurer of Ethiopia. Now that's a guy with great authority. Mr. Eunuch was working directly under the queen. Philip basically met the Ben Bernanke of that portion of Africa.

And you know what Mr. Eunuch was doing? He was studying the scriptures. Isaiah, to be exact. Isaiah 53:7-8, which reads "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, He did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice."  And Mr. Eunich had no idea what that verse meant.  But Philip did. It just so happens that in that verse, Isaiah is prophesying about Jesus Christ.  So Philip rode with him awhile, explaining how the scriptures foretold Jesus' life...and death.  And Mr. of the top officials of Ethiopia...believed.

That's worth noting. Philip was in the middle of doing God's work, turning many to believe in Christ. But he was paying attention...and listening. And God called him away from something do something great. What did he do? He answered the call. And because of that, the eunuch believed, was baptized, and spread the Good News to Ethiopia. And that was the beginning of the Word spreading to all the ends of the earth. Because of the eunuch, thousands came to know Christ.

For us, it's certainly not impossible, but it is unlikely that God will send an angel to tell us what to do. I wish He would! But have you ever been in this situation? The church needs volunteers, but that's your only free day to do your big grocery run. Or you notice a co-worker looking especially down, but you just have to get those e-mails answered. So you tell yourself that your stuff is important, and you go on your way. And when you check your spiritual cell phone...1 Missed Call.

God's work can be done anywhere, anytime, not just between 10 and 11 am on Sunday.

Are you paying attention? Are you listening? Don't get so distracted by baseball games, and homework, and e-mails, and grocery lists that you don't hear your spiritual cell phone. Dedicate part of each day to the Lord in prayer. Set aside just 15 minutes a morning to read the bible. I promise you, that if you believe, God has a job for you to do. Don't miss the call!

Thank you for reading this!  I love to hear your thoughts, both positive and negative.  God bless you!


  1. Very nicely put! Our daily lives are so distracting, it is important to remember our #1 priority.

  2. I often think about that meeting between Phillip and the eunuch, but even more about the fact that it was God directed. He was on time for the God-appointment, and then he was whisked away - because he was in tune with the Spirit of God. Awesome how God moves in our lives when we are listening and paying attention at the same time. :) Thank you for sharing about your experience, Rebecca, in such a beautiful way.

  3. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for putting it into such wonderful words, to really get the message through, even to those always rushing, like myself! A much needed passage for me right now, thank you!

  4. Very well done. Thank you for opening our eyes!

  5. You are a good storyteller. Very enjoyable to read. You were a bartender?