The raised car hood signified something was amiss. The owner was animatedly talking into his phone, and as I walked to my car in the parking lot of my work place, I overheard snippets of his conversation.
It was running fine when I returned from lunch
I don’t know why it won’t start now
No, it’ll be two hours if you come and get me. I don’t want you to have to do that
I guess I’ll call a tow truck
Bummer, I thought. I am so glad I’m not him. I got in my car, my mind preoccupied with the commitments I had that evening I was pressed to be on time for.
As I backed out of my parking space, I came abreast of him. Running through my head were all the reasons why I should just put my car in gear and keep going – like everyone else leaving for the day.
He has a phone. He can call someone
I have commitments
I am already late, if I don’t get on the road now, it’ll take ME two hours to get home
Wish I could help, but….
But… during my devotional prayer time in the preceding weeks, I kept coming across a prayer prompt to ask for the capacity to be a blessing.
When I think of capacity I usually think of volume or size. How much of something can something else hold? Event rooms and elevators have capacities. My 5-qt Crockpot has, well, a 5-quart capacity. Being the slight word nerd that I am, I looked up capacity. Did it mean what I thought it meant?
Yes, the meaning includes space or room, but also the ability to receive as well as the capability to do. In the context of capacity to be a blessing we might define capacity as recognizing and responding to an invitation by God to represent him to someone else.
In order to take advantage of something’s capacity, it must first be empty. To exceed the capacity of what something can hold almost certainly invites consequences.
We all know the stress of over-whelmed schedules where we have to be in three places at the same time. We all know the feeling that we simply cannot be responsible for one more thing to remember. We all know the stress of more month than money at times. We all know what it feels like to have zero capacity: something akin to a pressure cooker ready to explode if one more person needs us to do one more thing.
As I pondered the idea of praying for the capacity to be a blessing, it occurred to me that if was going to be in a position to receive an invitation to be a blessing, I would actively have to make room. God puts opportunities to be a blessing in front of us with regularity. Most of the time I see them in hindsight, having missed it because I was too focused on my here and now situation. As long as we are running from one thing to the next, or stretched to almost breaking in our checkbook, or living on caffeine instead of sleep and healthy food, we are not positioned to receive the invitation. We aren’t available.
We must purposefully create capacity. The paradox is that we must also be full.We must be full of the Spirit in order to have capacity to be a blessing. Click To Tweet
Word of God full. Holy Spirit full. If we do not have the Word tucked into our hearts, we will not know the prompting of the Spirit because we will not recognize his voice. Being full of the Holy Spirit arrests our “me-centered” focus and provides us an awareness of God’s invitation.
Most importantly, the Holy Spirit shifts our perspective to what is important for the kingdom
What does this all have to do with the man in the parking lot?
Just as the “Wish I could help, but….” thought rolled across my consciousness, I remembered what I had been praying for. Capacity to be a blessing. Then I remembered the set of jumper cables I had in my trunk.
I have never used jumper cables. Until recently, I have not ever had jumper cables in my trunk. I am not even sure where they came from. Remembering I had them was definitely a prompting of the Holy Spirit. I did have some place I needed to get to. I did have a grinding commute ahead of me. But … the Lord gently reminded me of my prayer. Was I really in that big of a hurry?
That is when I stopped and rolled down my window to ask the man if I could assist. A mere five minutes later his car was running and I was on my way home.
I think we tend to over-complicate capacity. It does not have to be a week-long vacation used for a mission trip. It can be a card, a stamp, and the few minutes it takes to write a note of encouragement. Capacity doesn’t have to grand, but it does need to be available.Capacity doesn’t have to grand, but it does need to be available. Click To Tweet
Such a simple thing – jumper cables and five minutes. Joy in recognizing and responding to God’s invitation bubbled up and spilled out in thankfulness that had me doing fist bumps with him.
And, I made it home in plenty of time for my next commitment.
God is good like that.
Pray for your capacity to be a blessing to others.