On Being Available

Matthew the tax collector being call by Jesus

I like watching a television network news broadcast most evenings, which airs live at 6:30 in the eastern time zone. However, I either record it or watch it later on YouTube because I want to watch it when it’s convenient for me, which is usually not at 6:30. Our modern culture has spoiled me, offering so much on-demand, including a lot of TV shows and movies. The Cambridge on-line dictionary defines on-demand as “providing services when a customer wants or asks for them.”

Providing on-demand products or services is not only a successful business practice, it’s also an important concept in personal relationships, both with others and with God. It’s called being available.

A parent needs to be available for the child, a mate for their mate, a friend for a friend. Relationships, if they are truly loving and giving, mean that not everything happens on our schedule or when it’s most convenient for us. We have to bend, yield, make allowances, adapt, or often change our plans, adjusting our schedule to better meet the needs of the other person. We have to make ourselves available.

I recall seeing a statement on a yardstick that was a gift to a customer. The statement read something like this, “You are not an interruption to our business, you are the reason for our business.” Our business, both with others and God, is to be interruptible, to be available. Almost all of Jesus’ miracles resulted because He was interrupted by people who needed a miracle.

Much of the good we can do in life can’t be scheduled, the opportunities just show up. We can have the words of encouragement someone needs, the help someone could use, or just be the one to come alongside in a time of need, but if we don’t make ourselves available it won’t happen.

Being available isn’t only important in our human relationships, it’s also important in our relationship with God that we make ourselves available to Him. God doesn’t need us to be the smartest, most talented, or the most gifted person around. He doesn’t need the most qualified person; He will qualify the one He calls. We just have to be available!

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9)

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