For many of us, the commodity of time becomes scarce in the midst of a life full of activity. The result? Limited availability. In my life, my lack of availability has led to times of failure in service to those I care about deeply. My family and friends have suffered and continue, at times, to suffer from my lack of availability.
Recently, a man describing his wife, affectionately told of her willingness to be available. She had purposely chosen availability rather than formal work. Although the choice had financial ramifications, the rewards of service were immeasurable. As he spoke, his wife was spending time with a woman in their church who was in need of wisdom and good company.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, describes a study done by Princeton University psychologists, John Darley and Daniel Batson. The study was inspired by Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan in the gospel of Luke. Seminarians at Princeton Theological Seminary were told to walk over to a nearby building and give an extemporaneous talk on a particular Biblical theme. Some students were told they were late, others were told they had time to spare. Along the way each student ran into a man slumped in an alley, with his head down, eyes closed, coughing and groaning in obvious need. Ten percent of those who thought they were late stopped to give aid, while 63% of those who thought they had a few minutes to spare stopped. The conclusion? Perceptions of our availability can deeply affect our behavior. In this case the perception of time influenced availability.
Celebrating Christmas is a wonderful reminder that God made himself available to us. Leaving His place outside time and space, God became man in the form of a child. God's availability is a most extraordinary demonstration of His love.
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14 NIV)
As we turn in gratitude to the Available God, may we, likewise, choose to be available to others.
Sharing the journey with you,