For the past couple of weeks, I have been dealing with an annoyingly persistent automated phone message. Each time I answered the call, I responded to the prompt indicating my rejection of the call. On Friday, I had had enough. I pressed the number that connected me with a live operator. By the time the operator answered, my blood pressure had raised a few degrees. My voice was harsh. My responses were curt and agitated. Thirty minutes and three operators later, I had passed from agitated to angry, and I was dangerously close to rudeness.
It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t Christlike. I am sure that it never occurred to any of the people I spoke with that I was a Christian. About midway through my interchange with the fourth operator, the Holy Spirit injected a question into the conversation. In clear, unmistakable terms, He said to me, “Where does Jesus fit in to this phone call?” His grace was totally absent from my words. His peace was totally absent from my heart. In much less time than it takes me to type this, I was brought to the humbling realization that my “problem,” not Jesus, had become preeminent.
After a quick, inaudible prayer of confession, I interrupted the lady on the other end. “Ma’am? May I say something please? I’m sorry. I’ve been angry and rude. It was uncalled for. You don’t deserve this. I know you’re doing your best to help me. I apologize.”
When I hung up a few minutes later, the reason for my call was still unresolved, but a bigger problem had been exposed. It had nothing to with anyone but me. I had let something other than Jesus be preeminent. My challenge, and yours, is to insure that when that happens – and it will – we respond quickly to make it right. Otherwise, the vision of His preeminence becomes nothing more than an empty religious concept with no reality in our lives.