TCM Devotions: Distractions

Luke 17: 11-19

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

As Jesus was travellling, he was met with some unplanned encounters. We can learn a lot by Jesus’ actions here. Jesus builds relationships and community by allowing others to disturb his journey rather than continuing on in a rush at the purpose ahead. Jesus took the time to listen to the appeal of the people, then responded. When a distraction hits you next time, be patient and take the time to listen and meet with people. 

Unchanging Joy

By Francis Zafico

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:2-3

Some days, as Outreach Workers, it gets difficult. The kids get rowdy, especially with a new group of kids at this time of the year, while we may have stress dealing with our personal lives. We are reminded that unexpected circumstances happen, and that joy should come from the one constant in our lives – God. God is working all the time, and when things get out of hand, pause and reflect on what God is doing. Remember that God is living and unchanging. 

Protecting Unity in Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-7

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

Yesterday, I attended a lunch at Steve’s (Spiritual Director at TCM). As I approached his front door, his dog, Duncan barked at me. He was doing his duty as a guard dog and protecting his owner and his territory.

In the scripture above, Paul urges the church to protect and guard the unity of Christ. He doesn’t talk about creating unity, unity has already been given by God. As Christians, we sometimes get caught up in our differences between our church traditions and denominations, it is Satan’s goal to destroy the unity that God has created. We must remember to dwell upon the things that unite us and resolve conflicts between us. 

Sundar Krishnan, the pastor at Rexdale Alliance teaches us how to protect unity through understanding humility (opposite of pride).

  • Don’t clutch on to what you have but have a loose hold on it (including beliefs)
  • Don’t grasp for what you don’t have but wait for it to come to you in God’s timing
  • Don’t exploit people for your own advantage but show love to others because God loves them

Importance of Prayer in the Midst of Busyness

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. - Mark 1:35

Jesus was in the middle of his ministry, He had just come back from forty days being tempted in the desert, He had called his first disciples, He drove out an impure spirit, He was healing people left, right and centre. Jesus was busy. Amidst this busyness, Jesus woke up early and spent time to pray.

As the summer winds down and the busyness of Fall sets up, we are reminded of the importance to spend quality time with God. In our ministry at Toronto City Mission, we are called to serve God first and through him, we can serve others.

Prioritize your days so that God and prayer is on the top of the list.