“Don’t disturb me now!” How often have we used that phrase? Looking back, whenever we’ve muttered, “Don’t disturb me now,” hasn’t it usually been said to a child? The years inevitably go by and eventually you wish that your child would disturb you now.
Occasionally, we might say it to a spouse. Then the years go by and you realize how much you’d give if only your spouse was there to disturb you now. Or any time. Sometimes a customer walks into your store just as you’re getting ready to close up for the day. You may not say it, but you’re thinking, “Don’t disturb me now!” It’s good to remember those early days when you prayed for a customer to walk through the door.
It can happen that one is overtaken by an urgent call of nature at an inconvenient time, say, in the middle of an important meeting. It would be perfectly normal to silently beseech one’s body, “Don’t disturb me now!” A better response is to take care of bathroom business and then thank God for one’s body and its multiple complex orifices all of which open and close at the appropriate times. Being able to relieve oneself regularly is a big blessing.
Blessings of all kinds come but we often miss them because they don’t necessarily come on our schedule. “Don’t disturb me now” is just one way of banishing blessing. Being so inwardly focused is another way of remaining oblivious to a blessing in the shape of an opportunity. A business professional seeking to hire an associate can sometimes have such an overly defined candidate in mind that he ignores someone who’d be a spectacular employee. A single man assuring all his married friends about how eager he is to find a spouse but with such a fixed picture in mind of the woman he imagines marrying that he all but eliminates the possibility of blessing finding him.
Sadly, at one time or another, we’ve all shut ourselves off from blessing. And there is no surer way of shutting down the flow of blessing than by not being an open and empty container.
Here’s a great Biblical story found in the beginning of II Kings, chapter 4.
A desperately poor widow approached the prophet Elisha imploring him for help. He asked what she had in the house. Her response: “Nothing but a tiny jar of oil.”
Elisha told her to go out and borrow as many empty vessels as possible; jars, bottles, 50-gallon drums, anything. He then told her to make sure she was alone and then to start filling all those empty containers from her tiny jar of oil. Amazingly, the blessing in the form of oil, representing then as now—wealth— began to flow without limit.
Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches how throughout Scripture, oil with its ability to bring light, is a metaphor for prominence, wealth and success. For this reason, when a king is crowned, he is anointed with oil. So established is this powerful association of oil, that on June 2nd, 1953, just before the crown was placed upon the head of Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in Westminster Abbey, some oil was ceremonially placed upon her head and chest.
We see that Elisha brought God’s blessing on to the poor widow in the form of oil. You’d have thought that when all the vessels were filled with oil, the blessing would cease. But you’d be wrong. It continued to flow so she called out to her son, “Bring me more containers!” Instead of racing off to locate more vessels, he replied, to his mother, “There are no more containers.” That’s when the oil stopped.
When we decide that there are no more containers for blessing, the oil stops. When we decide that we ourselves are no longer willing to be containers for blessing, the blessing stops flowing. “Don’t disturb me now” is one way of signaling our unwillingness to become a container for blessing.
Ordinarily this would be where this Thought Tool ends but today I need to ask you if you’ll allow me to disturb you now. The work undertaken by the American Alliance of Jews and Christians is increasing. Now, more than in recent years, the spread of secular fundamentalism throughout schools, universities, entertainment and politics is resulting in ever more hostility to Judeo-Christian values. Public partiality towards Islam is paired with increased hostility towards traditional Christian and Jewish beliefs and values.
Pseudo ‘rights’ organizations are increasingly targeting Christian groups and their leaders as spreaders of ‘hate’. The ridiculing of religious values of both Jews and Christians occurs on campus with frightening regularity. Denunciation of Israel as no more than an outpost of western colonialism continues. Demonization of pro-life people now makes much of public life downright uncomfortable if not sometimes even dangerous.
In these times, the loud and unwavering voice of a Jewish rabbi along with those brave voices allied with the American Alliance of Jews and Christians makes a real difference. In these times when so many Jewish organizations originally formed to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism have abandoned their noble founding in order to become additional advocates for secularism and progressive values, our voice here at the AAJC becomes even more urgently needed.
I implore you to continue your generous support of our work. Now is the time we really need your help to be able to stand up boldly and firmly. Please don’t say, “Don’t disturb me now.”
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