Availability (Isaiah 6:8; Mark 1:17-18; Luke 16:10; Acts 16:10) is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others. It makes personal priorities secondary to the needs of God and others. It is to reflect God's priorities, so we are always available to Him, and others, when we are serving.
Irritate, careless, hassling, and inconveniencing others are opposite terms. These imply the ability to ignore and put people down, when we are called to embrace and lift them up. This will cancel out any good you or your church may have done, by the needs of people and communities being unmet, and by the uninvolved, careless mentality that many churches and Christians have today. It is the refusal to make use of the available time, talents, and resources to meet those needs, or to help accomplish the desired results to which God calls us.
We have a God who became Available to us, who elected to choose us, and selected us for a purpose. One of the primary calls is for us to be in touch with our Creator, our loving Lord. His power flowing through the universe is available for us to use if we choose to trust, and obey, according to His Will.
Can you imagine the awesome nature of our Lord; can you fathom the power that is at our hands; can you see the potential you have, and the plan that God has for you? Or, are you too busy watching TV, or are you being driven by the schedule and urgencies of your life, leaving no time to tap into the power at hand, the power that goes beyond any human means or adventure! We can do what God can do to the extent of our capabilities, and what He allows according to His purpose.
So, do you get it? Are you ready to have a church transformed to do what a church is actually for, what the foundation was poured for, and poured out for? Then, you also have to be available to others as God was to you! The key to relationships and community is the ability to be open and engage others, even when the people we are trying to help hurt us. Remember, God was hurt by us!
Being available to others is also a form of praise and pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:15-16). Our offerings today are not about dragging our livestock or pets to be sacrificed, because Jesus was our sacrifice. So, then, what do we bring? Our sacrifice today is what flows from our heart, to love and adore our Lord. We are to be so full of love for our Lord that it flows to those around us.
Our praise, as exposited from this text, is a peace offering of thanksgiving. Our Lord wants us to be wholly devoted to Him all the time. This will then flow from us to others. There should be no circumstance we could ever face that would cause praise to cease flowing from our lips. Our praise is to acknowledge Christ alone, by His grace alone, with nothing coming from us but faith. What we can sacrifice is our person, our ability, and our availability for His purposes.
When we first give ourselves, everything else will be easy, because pride and hoarding will be eliminated, as well as materialism. We can sacrifice our wallets and purses to His service. Time, talents, and treasures should flow willingly from us to His service, with joy and gladness. The testimony that we are effectively praising God is the difference it makes in our friends, families, and neighbors.
When we are in a healthy relationship of praise, the church reaps the benefits of health and vitality that beckons the world to our Lord-to who He is, and what He does. This is the sacrifice of praise because it distracts from our ego and self, from our sin and selfish nature, and leads to His presence.
- How do I exhibit Availability to others in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop an attitude of and willingness to be Available?
- What blocks me from being Available to others?
- How can I make Availability function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty, stress, and, most importantly, time constraints?
- How would you define Availability?
- Do you strive to be Available to others as a reflection of who you are in Christ, and what He did for you?
- How does being careless counteract Availability? Why is Availability something that does not happen as much as it should?
- What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers only of our needs and time, rather than just being Available?
- When have you most been Available to others?
- In what situation did you fail to be Available when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve by your being more Available?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Availability into action in a specific instance. Such as, how can you make yourself available to someone who has a need that you may have ignored, or felt you did not have time to help? How can you better manage your time and resources? When we are Available to others, it does come back to us!
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 3:9-10; Ex. 4:1-17; Jonah 1:1-4; Matt. 25:14-30; 2 Tim. 4:9-10)
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many from one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." (Romans 12:4-8 NIV)
We, too, must get rid of our old self, and embrace the new life that is available to us (Col. 3).
We have to be able to admit when we are wrong, to confess, to grow, and to go on from there. This will allow us the fastest and strongest growth, and the building of our character.
© 2002, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org