March 28, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Devotional sharing based on John 2:1-11, by Kelly Kang, Gracepoint Berkeley

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Submitted by Timothy Rhee, Gracepoint Minneapolis

John 2:1-5

Consider the irony of wine running out on the wedding day—the most well-prepared and supposedly happiest day of one’s life.  What truth about life and about the limits of human abilities does this scene depict?

It is indeed so telling that on this most well-prepared and happiest day of one’s life, that they ran out of wine. If there is one day in life, that people try to get “just right”, it’s their wedding day. John doesn’t tell us the details of what happened here. Maybe more guests showed up than expected, maybe the bride and groom were from two poor families and so they were trying to get by with just enough wine and wrongly estimated how much wine they would need. Regardless of the reasons, it demonstrates how we little we control of life. Even our best laid plans go awry. People can get laid off from work. One visit to the doctor’s office can completely change the future. Accidents happen. In the end, we have so little actual control over our lives despite often feeling like we do.

In my future plans, do I over-rely on my own abilities to plan a perfect life for myself?

I do have a tendency to overly rely on my ability to plan my life perfectly.  This was my life story. Growing up, I thought I had the perfect blue print for my future. I was going to study hard, get into a top notch college, get a stellar gpa as undergrad, go to MIT for grad school, return to my hometown in L.A., enjoy a successful career and retire comfortably. My life has turned out nothing like the one I had planned for myself. I was able to follow my blue print up to the point of getting into Cal for undergrad. But after my first semester at Cal, my dream of a stellar gpa was no more. And 4 years later, I would get rejected from M.I.T. for grad school.  So my blue-print life turned out to be way off! I did not factor in properly, how much smarter my fellow students in college would be. I didn’t factor in how empty I would feel and disappointed with my blue print after my first semester of college.  Similar to what Jesus did at this wedding at Cana, Jesus stepped into my life that was turning out nothing like the one I had envisioned.  He replaced my empty and bankrupt blue print for my life with a new plan of His own.  He drew me to Himself with His love, granted me salvation and replaced my silly blue print with the exciting vision to follow Him for the rest my life.  What a thrill that journey has been!  And I am so grateful to be able to say that the words of the master of the banquet capture exactly what Jesus has done in my life as well: “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” With the passage of time, my life is only getting richer, fuller, and more blessed. Today, I am serving with group of brothers and sisters in Minnesota who are very precious to me, and together we are sharing the gospel with the students at the U of M. Growing up, this was never part of my original blue print. But boy do I feel blessed to be here! I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.
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Submitted by Cynthia Peng, Gracepoint Berkeley
John 2:1-5
Consider the irony of wine running out on the wedding day—the most well-prepared and supposedly happiest day of one’s life.  What truth about life and about the limits of human abilities does this scene depict? First of all, I can totally relate to this picture of things running out despite planning and preparation.  Being at our church for so long, there has been plenty of meals that we’ve planned for and ran out of one thing or another at.  This past Saturday’s delicious potluck that the Praxis members graciously prepared to encourage the college students after 4 full days of GLive practice is one such example.   It was planned of course and yet life always throws unexpected things at you.  In Saturday’s case, how much an average college student can eat was something that the Praxis members did not fully anticipate.
Thus, this scene of wine running out on the wedding day is an apt analogy to life in general.  It is ironic because a wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of one’s life so you don’t expect there to be problems.  The couple plans ahead of time to avoid that very thing, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and there is a general happy and celebratory tone in the air.  Yet, in the case of this wedding, they didn’t plan enough wine such that it ran out, right in the midst of everybody being happy and celebratory.  And if the situation was left as it was, it would’ve been a major downer and it would’ve ruined the mood of the rest of the celebration.  This scene is an apt analogy to life because we can plan all we want but there are always going to be unexpected curveballs thrown at us.  We do not control all of life and so it shows clearly the limits of our human abilities.

In my future plans, do I over-rely on my own abilities to plan a perfect life for myself? In my future plans, I do see a tendency to over-rely on my own abilities to plan a perfect life for myself.  I remember thinking when I was younger how I wanted a certain timetable for my life, to get married by a certain age, have kids at a certain age, to be at a certain place in my career at what time, etc.  But how none of that panned out because I couldn’t control any of that.  I can try but other people and nature work against me.  Not to mention, I didn’t plan for the gospel to arrest me the way it did and completely shift all of my priorities.  I planned all I wanted but God had other plans and I’m so thankful that He came and stopped me in my own puny plans.  Overall, I think with age and time I have come to see how little control I have over anything and so that has helped me to let go of the grip I have over my future more and more, but there is still room to grow in this area.

As Eugene left last night to go to Taiwan to attend his grandmother’s funeral and be a source of strength and comfort to his family and relatives, I see how this was the case even in this situation.  We heard that his grandmother caught a cold and fell into a coma Friday night.  On Saturday, we made arrangements and bought tickets for Eugene to go visit, hoping for an opportunity to share the gospel with his grandmother even in her comatose state.  Yet by Saturday night, we got the news that she had already passed away.  Death doesn’t wait and go according to what we plan.  We can plan and hope to be able to make it in time, but things don’t work out that way.  It really shows me how ridiculous it is for me to think that I can control things and direct my life when I am just a mere human and there are so many unknowns and things beyond my control.
Being reminded again of the story of my parents and my dad’s response to our move to Taiwan from Pastor Ed’s sermon on Sunday, I see again how I am so puny and God’s plans and ways are so much greater than mine.  Who would’ve thought that our move to Taiwan would turn out to be the greatest blessing to my parents.  In light of that, how silly it is for me to over rely on my own plans and think that I know all of the pieces that need to fall into place for a particular result.
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One Response to “March 28, 2011 Devotion Sharing”

  1. susan says:

    Amen!
    thankful that all of us can experience that together here at gracepoint minneapolis.
    thankful also for how i was able to witness the birth of gracepoint davis back in my freshman year, and then seeing the growth over the years since then.
    God really does bring out the best!

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