Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AVAILability: That Underrated Ability

When someone asks me, "How are you doing?" my almost instinctive answer is "BUSY." It makes me feel more important, more in demand, more significant than if I said, "I'm AVAILABLE."

That is what Timothy said to Paul in the early church. Listen to what Paul wrote about young Tim, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:20-21) Timothy was extremely valuable to Paul and to the people Paul was trying to reach because he was AVAILABLE.

I find myself having increasing freedom now to make my own schedule so I have tried to consciously be available to help my daughter and son-in-law with their two may be driving Ellie, my six year old granddaughter, to school one day a week or taking her to the pool one afternoon a week or going to the dog park and McDonald's with my two year old granddaughter, Sadie.

These moments create special the time after Ellie had gone hunting with her dad and I was driving her to school and started talking and she says, “Quiet grandpa, I’m looking for elk!” That was pretty funny since I think the last time elk has been seen in Woodinville was... NEVER!

Fathering is not just for our biological children. We have fatherlessness all around us. As I look at my extended family I see that I need to be available to be a father figure to my nieces and nephews. In my extended family I have figured out that I have five different families who are experiencing father absence of one kind or another – from divorce, death, estrangement or whatever. My nieces and nephews need my AVAILability. Does that mean I will be close to all of them? Of course not, but I can be available to them.

My two youngest kids are going to college in the fall. Will I be talking to them everyday? No. But I still can be available to them. Cindy, who has been a stay at home mom for 32 years, will be for the first time without a child in the home. We are both going through transition in this. But am I going to allow my schedule to fill up so I don't feel the loss and sadness or will I choose availability to Cindy? I hope you see the point I'm driving at.

And why is AVAILability so underrated? I don't think it is any accident. I think it has something to do with our sense of importance especially in our culture. If we fill our agenda with what we want to do then we feel in control, we feel important, we feel in demand. When we are available then we have to give all those things up and SERVE another's agenda.

Maybe it is like the person who said, "I don't mind being a servant, just don't treat me like one." This is an ability that Cindy and I are working on developing. It means saying "No" to some good things. It means disappointing some people. It means being seen as a little irrelevant. But it could be our most important "ability" we can offer to God in this season of our faith journey.

"Before we can pray "Thy kingdom come," we must be wiling to pray, "My kingdom go." - Alan Redpath


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Lucy said...

Excellent and challenging insight. I am motivated now in my AVAIL ability. May we all avail ourselves to Christ and take hold of that for which He took hold of us in a way that leads us to say "My kingdom go." Thank you Jamie for always being a learning and passing along your teaching to us. Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Great word, brother Jay. With your permission, I'm going to use that word (AVAILability) with my staff this year. I'll give credit where credit is due - to you, Paul, and Timothy. Pretty good company, I'd say. Brother D