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Is it really October?  Where did that come from?  (Hint – September).   The word October means eighth as you probably know (think Octopus).  Hey, wait a minute!  October isn’t the eighth month!  

Well it is and it isn’t.  The old Roman calendar had only ten months.  It lacked January and February, so October is eighth.  Consider that September, October, November and December are months named for the number.   

Many people love October.  The heat and humidity of mid-summer are in our wake.  The leaves are gorgeous.  It is harvest time.   And of course, in October falls a favorite holiday of many people, Halloween.  The stores started stocking the shelves with Halloween merchandise weeks ago.   

Speaking of Halloween.  Back in the day sometimes children would ask to borrow a clergy shirt from me to dress up as Pastor Fred to go trick or treating.  However, so many people were frightened by an image of me that we had to put a stop to it.  Just kidding.  

Well, just kidding about the scary part.  Kids did really wear a shirt of mine and went out as “Pastor Fred” for Halloween.  

Anyway, that is not the theme of this Sanitizer.  Pastor Warren Seibert in his book, “The Calling of the Part-Time Pastor” writes, “I am certain that the most critical factor necessary to having a healthy and fruitful ministry – for a part-time pastor and  the church they serve with – is for both to know they have been called by God to this ministry for their time and place.” (p.19)  “…for their time and place.”  

That is where we serve.  It is the only place we can serve.  It is where we are with God.  

This is the time and place, so that leaves the question of if we will serve.  

Much has been made in the past years of the book of Esther.  Esther was in a unique position to speak to the king.  She alone can call on him to save her people.  But to do so involved enormous risk to Esther, even of her life.  Her cousin Mordecai, who raised like a daughter, who asks her to speak up says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:14)  I will let you look it up to see what happens.  Spoiler alert:  It is a happy ending.  We need some happy endings right now.  

There was a church poster in the seventies that said, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Once again, if we are to bloom, where else can we bloom?  The point is not cynicism.  Quite the opposite!  The point is to BLOOM!  We will do no one any good if we sit and wait for the right time.  The right time is such a time as this.  Now is the time to pray, love God, serve, worship, you know, all the good and godly things the world needs without which it is in grave peril.  

The apostle Paul writes, “See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!”  In a moment I am going to put the entire majestic quote from Paul here.  Before that, we can resolve to start right now – to pray to worship to serve.  We can start right now showing our love to God in his Son Jesus Christ.  When?  Now is acceptable time.  And when we do this, our hearts will soar to new heights.   

Here is the whole passage:  2 Corinthians 6 As we work together with him,[a] we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you,     and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12 There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13 In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.  

Please pray with me.   Dear Lord, help us to stop waiting for the best time.  Now is the time to witness.  Now is the time to worship.  Now is the time to pray.  Engage us in kingdom work and give us the great joy of knowing we are linked to you in the holy and heavenly things.  We ask for the sake of your Son, Jesus.  Amen.