21st November 2021

Watching and waiting

If you’ve ever had the chance to eat at a fine restaurant, you may have noticed the waitstaff is very particular about how your food is brought to you and how the empty dishes are taken away. Most formal restaurants train their waitstaff how to serve, which includes never reaching across in front of a guest. Servers are taught to serve the food from the guest’s left side, making sure the part of the plate with the protein is facing the guest. Plates are removed from the right side of a guest. Your server may have even taken a moment to remove breadcrumbs from the table in between courses. The waitstaff stands and watches, alert to when a guest might need another beverage or something to make their experience more enjoyable.

Most of us don’t observe other people that closely. Unless we’re a server at a fine restaurant, we don’t often pick up on subtle cues that other people give us. It’s easy to miss out on the feedback and wisdom others might give to help us navigate life better. Sometimes we miss out on opportunities to do good to others. This pattern of not paying attention can also carry over into our relationship with God. But Psalm 123 gives us a solution:

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy upon us. Psalm 123:1-2 (NRSV)

Paying attention to what God is doing and where God is working is much like developing the attention of a fine restaurant’s waitstaff. Our antennae are up, and we’re noticing the opportunities and difficulties that come across our paths. We’re in constant conversation with God about what’s happening around us, ready to participate with what he is doing.

When the Psalmist says ‘our eyes look to the Lord’, he is not talking about always looking heavenward, but looking around so we can see what God is doing in the lives of people around us. When we see those around us, we can join God in loving them as he does. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t have to go looking for people to heal or sinners to encourage; he lived his life with full awareness, paying attention to the needs around him and responding with love when the opportunity arose.

Jesus invites us to join him by learning to pay attention to others. Like a fine restaurant’s waitstaff, when we are in tune with the needs of others, we find ways to share God’s love with them. By figuring out how we can best love those God brings across our paths, we develop the attention and awareness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

May you be ever watchful, looking for those opportunities to do good to someone else and showing the love of the Triune God.

Presented by Michelle Fleming

About the presenter:
The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.  Michelle Fleming is an elder in Grace Communion International and works in the International Home Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Media Director.

Local congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, http://www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Word of Life contact:
wordoflife@gracecom.church