I didn't really feel like working out. Nonetheless I was up and out the door and on my way to the YMCA. I had already determined that it was going to be a short morning. I was going to hop on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then head home for a shower. I had a ton of excuses for why I couldn't stay very long.
I had gotten up early two days in a row. I was tired. I had a mountain of work to do at church. My weight was down so skipping a day wouldn't hurt. My workout partner, Arthur, wasn't going to be there. I was an excuse-making machine. They kept flowing fast and furious. If anyone asked me I'd be ready with an answer for them.
That's when I opened locker 19. In that moment everything changed. On the back wall of that locker was a sticker. It simply said, "Have a great workout today!" I pondered what I was seeing. Was that meant for me? Was it written in all the lockers? I checked several others and my locker was the only one with those words.
You are going to think this is silly but it was like a message from God. He was saying to me, "I don't want to hear your excuses. You know what you need to do." How could I walk away from God's command? So I turned around and did my full workout. Guess what? Seventy-five minutes later I walked out of the building feeling great.
As I was heading home it struck me that you never know when and where you are going to hear the voice of God. God often speaks to us in subtle ways. Elijah learned that God doesn't need to show up in an earthquake or a storm to be heard. He is more apt to come in a still small voice with a whisper in your ear.
Too often we fail to hear God's voice and act on it. We sit waiting for a booming, thunderous voice from heaven before we will do anything. We make our excuses. On a silent night over two thousand years ago, Luke tells us that an angel appeared to some shepherds with a message that would change the world.
I am so glad that the shepherds didn't wait to see if they had misunderstood what the angel said. I'm glad they didn't stay in the fields looking for a more definitive sign that what the angels said was true. Instead we read that they rushed out to see the miracle that God had made known to them. They were blessed in doing so.
Has been God trying to tell you something? Christmas offers us the perfect opportunity to hear God’s voice in the songs and messages of the birth of Christ. If you have been too busy to attend a worship service lately, I’d like to invite you to drop by your home church. You will be blessed like I was with the message I found in locker 19. So do it and have a great time of worship!
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.