It never ceases to amaze me how a group of people or even a society can be presented with the same information, the same environment at the same moment in time and each will come away with a different perspective of what occurred. Each will have their own take on what it meant to them and how that experience will impact their future. It happens in the intricacies of my life, it happened to the writers of the gospel, it happens in interacting with the world around us, all of the time.
When I boarded the first airplane to fly to Alabama, I was presented with a question, “Are you willing and able?” A question posed to me because I had been assigned to sit in an exit row. There were additional responsibilities that I’d have to accept and duties I’d have to perform should I choose to sit in my assigned seat with the extra leg room. This question began to echo in my head, far beyond the audible, English response of “yes” that I was required to give. Every flight was the same, every time it was asked, my answer was the same, “yes”. I am willing and able. I may be a little nervous about it, but that doesn’t make me unwilling or unable. I might seriously reevaluate my ability to pull, twist and throw a 40+ pound door behind the wing and then assist others to safety. But I’m still willing and believe myself able to do it. And I know that I am willing and able to help people in the unlikely event of a water evacuation between El Paso and Phoenix, because really, what are the odds of that happening?
I would venture to say that those 5 words are asked by God every time an opportunity to do His will is presented in our lives. Sometimes however, we find ourselves more of one than the other. Sometimes we may be able, but unwilling; Or willing but not able. Sometimes we are neither, and sometimes, we are surely both. Our motivations, doubts, insecurities, past experiences, hopes and dreams – all play a role in determining our answer. One thing that doesn’t change…the fact that we are asked the question in the face of a need by a God that expects us to freely choose our own response.
Over the coming days I will share with you the details of my trip to Tuscaloosa. We’ll talk about the willing and able folks that helped me get a truck load of supplies delivered, those that were involved in praying and laying painted hands on a canvas, those that gave extravagantly of their money and time, those that provided a place for me to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their stead, those that continue to persevere in the face of overwhelming obstacles and those that were moved to action as a result of the generosity modeled by others. I have never personally been a part of something that has glorified God more than this project.
The way that I saw God working in others over the span of these few weeks, and the way others saw God working in me, has changed my perspective on both willingness and ability. I am no longer able to say that I am not willing. I am no longer willing to be satisfied with not being able. I saw God in me, make me able.
So I ask you today, as a need passes before you, Are you willing and able? Willing to first recognize that God has put it in front of you for you to consider. And able to accept your responsibility to choose. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m willing to bet if you are reading this, then your answer will be, YES!