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George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons

Devotional For

July 26



      The Casual Contacts of Jesus
      
      There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water--Joh. 4:7
      
      The Casual Encounters of Jesus
      
      One notes, in the life of Jesus, how many folk there were who met Him casually. The meetings were in no sense prearranged; they were unplanned and unpremeditated contacts. One may hold that in the deepest sense no meeting with the Lord is really casual. Contingencies are not without the will of Heaven. Still, speaking in the way of men, no one can read the life of Jesus without observing how very full it was of what we call casual encounters. The woman of Samaria had no idea that she was going to meet the Lord beside the well. It was with no thought that he would meet with Christ that the man with the withered hand went to the synagogue. The impotent man beside the pool was not waiting for Him who is our Peace--he was waiting for the troubling of the waters. All these were casual meetings, speaking in the common way of men. They did not issue from definite intention as in the case of the Greeks who sought an interview. And how our Lord comported Himself in what we may call these casual encounters, is a deeply interesting study.
      
      Meetings That Were Casual But Rich in Consequence
      
      One might be sure, from all we know of life, that such meetings would be rich in consequence; doubly sure when we remember the radiant personality of Jesus. Mark Rutherford, in "Miriam's Schooling," tells us of a man who was now growing old. That man, when twenty years of age, had one day passed a woman on the street. And the spiritual beauty of her face, he tells us, haunted him and held him to the end. A thousand times it had rebuked him, and a thousand times it had redeemed him. Not infrequently, when we are dull or troubled, we meet someone in the most casual fashion, and instantly (such is personality) the time of the singing of the birds has come. Now multiply all that by the radiant personality of Jesus, and you grasp the consequence of casual contact. Life was going to be different forever to that Samaritan woman by the well. There was going to be work and happiness at home for the man with the withered hand. Yet these were but casual meetings--momentary encounters by the way--unpremeditated and unplanned. There is a line in a well-known hymn which says, "Not a brief glimpse I beg, a passing word." One understands that perfectly. It is love demanding the forever. But do not forget that a passing word of Christ--a single glimpse of the beauty of His face--may alter life down to its very depths and make the future different forever.
      
      Christ Always Had Time for Casual Meetings
      
      It is a beautiful and helpful thought that for these casual meetings Christ had always time, and the wonder of that deepens when one recalls the greatness of His mission. His was the most stupendous mission ever given to a son of man. He was here to bear the sins of the whole world. He was here to make all things new. It is when one thinks of that, and the weight and pressure of it, and the brief years allowed for its accomplishment, that one marvels at the leisurely serenity with which He took these casual encounters. With a baptism to be baptized with, living under the urgency of Calvary, who could have wondered had He been preoccupied, pushing aside every casual comer? Yet He had time to halt when Bartimaeus cried, and to sit and talk with the woman at the well, and to wait serenely till they discovered her who had gripped the tassel of His garment. That is often a very comforting thought when we come to Him upon the throne today. With the government upon His shoulder, can I reasonably hope He will have time for me? Yet on earth He always had the time and the heart at leisure from itself--and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
      
      Christ Always Gave Himself at These Casual Meetings
      
      One likes to think, too, how in these casual meetings our Lord gave of His very best, and He did that because He gave Himself. It is a thought familiar in many a book and sermon that Jesus gave of His riches to the individual. That is profoundly true as every reader of the Gospel knows. But still more striking and suggestive is it that He gave of His richest to the individual He met casually. I could understand Him dealing with Nicodemus so, for Nicodemus deliberately sought Him. He took his courage in both hands and braved a great deal when he set out to meet the Lord that night. But that Jesus should give of His riches and His best to folk who met Him in quite casual contact--that is the kind of thing which gives one pause. He did that with the woman at the well. The words He spoke to her have changed the world. They have come ringing down the corridors of time, nor will men ever let them die. Yet she went out that noonday just to fill her waterpots, at an hour when she might hope to be alone, without one thought that she would meet the Lord. Now may I say quietly to all my readers that there He has left us an example. Sometimes going into company we say, "I must be at my very best tonight." And sometimes preachers, addressing certain audiences, say, "I must be at my very best today." But who can tell the good that we might do, who can explore the influence we might wield, if we only determined to give of our very best in the casual contacts of the hour? There may be a bit of the Kingdom in a handshake and a gleam of heaven in a happy smile. A word of cheer to some poor "down and out," may be as a well of water in a thirsty land. That, I take it, was the Master's way, and if in joy and peace it be our way, casual folk will be thanking God for us though we never hear anything about it.

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