Try To Be Open Minded

Missing the Obvious

I enjoy walking with God, and each day I look forward to the many life experiences He makes available for me. However, in searching for the holy, I'll admit that I have been known to occasionally miss the obvious. It isn't something I plan to do intentionally; it's just something that seems to happen on a fairly regular basis.

My favorite time of the week is after Sunday worship when some of the congregation stays a few minutes following church services to visit with each other. This short time of fellowship always brings a smile to my face. It's a simple reminder that there is more to the church experience than prayers and a message.

After services one Sunday morning, Brian, a member of our congregation, asked me a hypothetical question. He said, "Pastor Ray, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one book, any book in the world, which book would it be, and why?"

As a minister, I thought the answer to his inquiry was very apparent. I said, "Brian, if I could only have one book I would want the Bible because it would help give me spiritual strength in getting through the challenge of being stranded on a desert island." I believed that my answer had a great deal of merit. Especially since it was Sunday morning and we had just completed church services.

Expecting him to reinforce my answer, I asked Brian the same question; "If you were stranded on that island, which book would you want?"

With a smile on his face his answer was immediate. He said, "If it were me, I would want a book titled, 'How to Build a Boat.'"

Once again Brian had pulled another fast one over on me. I usually fall for his jokes because I can seldom tell what kind of mood he is in because his facial expressions never seem to change. He can ask a serious question and tell a humorous story using the same mannerisms.

But his question did serve a purpose and bring home an important lesson. I was looking for the spiritually right answer because we were in church when the question was asked. Brian was looking for the obvious answer.

Occasionally, in our efforts to do or say what we think is right, we can miss the obvious. In answering prayer, God needs our cooperation in making events happen. If God had sent me a book on how to build a boat I would have been disappointed because I was praying for a Bible. God often sends us what we need, not what we want. Sometimes we have to look beyond the holy and search for the obvious.

Copyright 2011 Rev. Raymond C. Nolan
Rev. Raymond C. Nolan has served as a minister for over 30 years and is presently the Assistant Pastor at Daybreak United Methodist Church in Miflin, Alabama. His positive outlook on life serves as an inspiration to all who know him.

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Read some of Ray's other writings too:

We're Never Too Old To Teach

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Becoming Too Available

Bernie and Me

The Birthday Cake Rematch

Rank Does Have Its Privileges

Blessings In Disguise

Does God Have A Sense Of Humor?

Changing Seasons

Stories / Articles 2011