What Has God Prepared For Me?
by Jim Rower
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
We have recently celebrated Holy Week, remembering our Lord’s journey to the cross. One of the elements of this story that piques my curiosity is that of Simon of Cyrene, the man who was pulled out of the crowd to carry Jesus’ cross. We aren’t told much about this guy. Mark says he was “coming in from the country” and “the father of Alexander and Rufus.” That’s all we know.
I presume Simon was coming into the city to celebrate Passover, like most of the crowd that was gathered that day. I imagine he had things to do. Perhaps he was headed to the market to buy food for the Seder, or who knows what. He hears a commotion, sees a crowd, and goes to investigate. As soon as he’s able to get near the front to see what’s going on, he is pulled from the crowd by a Roman soldier and forced to carry a cross for a convicted man.
What a terrible inconvenience. “Why me?” he must’ve thought. “I’ve got things to do, I can’t be dragged into this.” And yet, he was. Did he even know this man, Jesus? Did he know what had taken place, what He was accused of, and why He was headed to Golgotha? Or, perhaps Simon saw Jesus’ condition and gladly put aside his to-do list to help Him, despite the inconvenience.
How many times am I put in this situation? Not specifically to physically carry Jesus’ cross up a hill, but to put aside my to-do list and make room to take on the things God has prepared for me to do? How many times do I pass by the stranger stranded on the side of the road, ignore the homeless person on the corner, fail to make a meal for and visit an ill or grieving friend, or stop to help my neighbor with a difficult task?
“Too many times,” is the answer. Yes, I do it occasionally, but far more often I am too self-centered to bother. Yet, when I do take on these things, not only do I bless someone else, but I myself feel so richly blessed for having done so. Still, what is my hesitation?
Regarding Simon of Cyrene and my similar situations, Pastor Tyler Staton wrote, “What starts as a terrible inconvenience is converted into a life-changing invitation for those daring to pay attention.” (Lectio 365, 3 April 2023)
Father God, thank You for the many ways You bless me daily. What have You prepared for me to do today? Help me to be less self-absorbed with my own tasks and to pay attention to the opportunities You present to use me to bless someone else—to love others as You love me. Amen.
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