Our best guess is Zechariah had been faithfully ‘serving’ as a priest, day in day out, for many years … ‘righteous in the sight of God’ (6) … ‘observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly’ (6) … he was we know by now ‘very old’ (7). Let’s be honest, on the one hand we regard anyone described like this as a spiritual giant. How come, therefore, whenever Zechariah gets a mention it’s as an example of failure? It does sound like a punishment: ‘’you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words’ (20).
I was in Costa’s today, talking with the woman serving me about ‘being ready for Christmas’. We didn’t have more than the time it took to prepare my flat white, my preferred morning coffee option right now, so neither of us really grasped where the other was coming from, but ‘very different places’ would be my gut reaction. Nonetheless, neither of us was ‘prepared’. Whilst her questions were all about presents, whatever we need to prepare for involves doing something before the event. This week the habit we’re looking to develop is having a heart attitude of preparedness and ‘service’ is one such practice, which develops this. ‘Serving’ always arises from the heart … but if it doesn’t result in action, anyone observing us could reasonably question our heart attitude. In Zechariah’s case, on this occasion, he doesn’t seem to be quite as well prepared as … well, me!
I wonder if this Advent you need an audit of your life through the lens of ‘service’? I’m not talking about taking on another role in the church, or adding another job to your ‘to-do’ list, but taking another look at the whole of life through this lens.
Zechariah happened to be a priest, but this still left him unprepared – are you open to today’s surprise from God?
Where in your life do you tend towards keeping out the possibility of serving God? Is it an aspect of your employment, a key relationship, an area of your heart?
Zechariah did not instantly ‘believe’ what God was speaking to him, but he did not give up serving the Lord with all his heart … is there any area in our lives where we might be stepping back from wholeheartedness?
Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to offer my whole life as an offering to you this day. Help me to be a living sacrifice, so I might become more distinctly seen as your follower in my attitudes and actions. I especially pray for those I shall meet today … may I look for where you might be at work in their lives, so mine might be an encouragement for all to take another step closer to you and hopefully with you. Amen.