Oct 8, 2010

The Mayor Can Wait

My daughter Rachel is turning 19 this month; she was born the last time that the Minnesota Twins won the World Series. Years ago, her life intersected with mine in a way that caused me to rethink my priorities.

When Rachel was four years old, my wife Cathy said to me; “Honey, Rachel wants me to get you to sleep in tomorrow.” My response to Cathy, as we were drifting off to sleep, was “I can’t; tomorrow is the day when us pastors are getting together with the mayor; this is an important meeting.”

For almost one year, the pastors of the Twin Cities had been coming together to pray for each other as well as to seek God for ways to partner together for city wide events. We had invited civic leaders like mayors, council members, and even the governor to join us for prayer only to have them decline our invitation.

But tomorrow would be different. Tomorrow, the mayor of one of the cities where I gathered weekly with other pastors would be joining us for prayer. We had invited the mayor of this particular city to come and share with us what were the toughest challenges that the city was facing, so that together we could pray to the Lord on behalf of the mayor and the city. Our desire was to “pray for all those in authority” as we are instructed in 1st Timothy 2 verse 1-8.

When I was a young father and minister I had struggled between time with my family and ministry. I am one who would encourage other men to put family and our wives first; yet at times stand a crossroad of choice as to what will really get my time and attention. It was not always clear for me to see ministering to my wife and children as “ministering for God”. I had to learn to see that my wife and my family were truly my first priority in ministry.

Cathy went on to explain to me what Rachel had planned for me instead for the following morning. Rachel had seen a picture in a magazine of a young girl bringing breakfast in bed to her father. Rachel had planned TOMORROW as the day when she wanted to do this for me.

“The mayor can wait”, I told Cathy as I realized that to let Rachel serve me breakfast and be a good dad to her would actually be the higher calling that God had given to me for tomorrow; not meeting with the mayor. I was convicted that my daughter Rachel had to take priority to the mayor; especially because Rachel was now asleep perhaps dreaming of how the breakfast would turn out, and it would be at least another week before my schedule would allow me to set aside time for one of my children to simply bless me. Do you see why we need our wives?

I woke up the next morning to my daughter Rachel (four years old) gently calling to me at my bedside. I turned to her and saw the joyful expectancy on her face as she anticipated my reaction to her thoughtfully planned surprise. Rachel told me how she had planned the whole breakfast the day before, including what dishes to use and what dress she would wear. I thanked her and ate the precious gift that she had prepared so lovingly for me.

Later, when I was alone, I realized how easily I could have blown it if Cathy not told me of Rachel’s plans and if God had not spoken to my heart. What a wonderful gift God gave us in the Holy Spirit. How good it is that He wants to lead and guide us and direct our lives in every area.
I was convicted that I needed to allow the Holy Spirit to clearly direct all of my decisions; especially when I was at a cross road of choice, having to choose one over the other.

I knew that the following week when I attended the weekly pastor’s prayer gathering, I would hear of how the time with the mayor went for those who were able to attend. And, I knew that inside, perhaps, I still would have wished that I could have been at both places. But I knew that God had called me to be in the presence of a four year old who wanted to do something special for her daddy. The pastors could wait; the mayor could wait; but my daughter couldn’t.

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