Great Plains Daily Devotional for 10/31/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Abilene First UMC
Salina District
Alida UMC
Wakefield UMC
Salina District
Agenda UMC
Belleville: First UMC
Salina District
Beloit: First UMC
Salina District

Today's Lectionary Text

Matthew 7:7-8

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Today's Devotional

I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska – apparently an epicenter for UNICEF in the 1970s. The orange boxes that we carefully assembled in Sunday School listed the many ways we could help; just a nickel or a dime could immunize or feed or shelter so many people! Each year I would traverse the neighborhood, box in hand, trick or treating for UNICEF. I suspect that my understanding of children as fully equipped for discipleship comes at least in part from the encouragement of those UNICEF boxes and the Sunday School teachers who took the time to explain their power.
A few congregations ago, I found myself growing frustrated hearing weekly worshippers comment about people who only showed up on Christmas and Easter. I suggested we add a third holiday: UNICEF Sunday. We would wear costumes, invite people of all ages, and let kids trick-or-treat with their boxes up and down the aisle during the time usually allotted for the children’s sermon.  To our surprise, it worked! For several years, our biggest special offering was for UNICEF. We also found that the people with kids came back; our third holiday became one of our better evangelism tools.
Perhaps you have seen a classic depiction of Jesus knocking on a door. A few years ago, I found a version where someone has added a plastic jack-o-lantern to his other hand – perhaps Jesus is out trick or treating for UNICEF? The tiny sliver of Matthew that I reflect on today takes up the notion of asking and receiving, seeking and finding. As disciples we are called to seek, and in doing so we are assured that we will find – although sometimes what we find is not what we originally sought. The folks at UNICEF thought they were recruiting children to fundraise, but in my life, they helped create an evangelist for systemic change that crosses borders, and with a view of discipleship that crosses generations. The congregation I served thought they were recruiting people to visit for one Sunday, and instead found themselves welcoming new members.
As you encounter God this week, what do you seek? And what have you already found that you were not expecting? How has the Holy Spirit opened your heart, or knocked on your door, to help you see God at work around you?
-Rev Stephanie Ahlschwede
Omaha: St. Paul


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