Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's a Devotion?

This summer my ministry partner and myself were fortunate to be on staff at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. We spent the week teaching writers how to promote their work through internet radio and interviewing writers for www.christiandevotions.us.

Oddly enough, we assumed writers understood what a devotion was. And for the most part,they did. With a little guidance they could take a personal testimony and turn it into a devotion (the two are not the same).

However, through the hours we spent working with writers and enjoying every second of it, the revelation hit me on the last leg of my plane trip home.

It rained torrential bucketfulls in Philadelphia which threw my flight behind. I watched as the pilots and flight attendants waded across the tarmac through ankle deep water to board the plane - and I thought. Now that's devotion!

With ten minutes to spare my flight landed in Cincinnati. The cabin door opened and through the window I eyed the automatic staircase being pushed against the side of the plane. Well, almost. It rolled within five-feet of the door and stopped, not to be moved another inch. The machine operator patiently shifted gears forward and backward, over and over and OVER. Still the stairs wouldn't budge. In my impatience, I thought to myself, "Now THAT'S REALLY devotion! The guy just keeps trying."

After 45 minutes waiting to disembark, the mechanics physically lifted the stairs and moved them securely against the door. The airline staff directed us off the plane, down a corridor and into the airport. As soon as I stepped into the waiting area, I heard my name over the intercom, "Cindy Sproles, report to Delta 6215 desk." I looked on the monitor for any clue to where Delta 6215 was located. Finally, in a last ditch effort to catch the one remaining flight home, I asked the guy at Delta 7166 desk. "They're calling my name but I can't find Delta 6215."

"No problem, he said. "It's this desk." I bit my lip, puzzled.

"But it says Delta 7166."

"Right. They're holding the plane for you." I didn't get it but I figured if they were holding flight 7166 for me, they had to know the numbers didn't match.

Are you ready for a chuckle? Here goes...

The guy at the desk motioned me through the same door I'd entered. I was met by the same flight attendant who walked me down the exact corridor and BACK ONTO the same plane I had left. You got it. The same plane. I wondered WHY I couldn't have just just stayed put? And before you ask...yes, I even had the same seat from the previous flight, only this time I had to step over a nice man to get to it.

I laughed as I shoved my computer under my seat. In fact, I continued to laugh which peaked the man's interest. Settling into my seat, I flipped open a book my agent had given me. The man smiled and tapped my book. "Southern Romance."

"It is indeed. My agent wants me to write a romance. So I need to read one to write one."

One tidbit led to another and we began to chat. I found out he was a neurological surgeon who lived in a neighboring town close to my home. As we talked I told him about the opportunity to teach aspiring writers about writing devotions.

He cocked his head to one side and said, "What's a devotion?"

This very educated and intelligent man, who made his living performing surgery inside people's heads, didn't have a clue what a devotion was. Actually, he didn't believe in God either so why would he know what a devotion was?

I thought for a minute. I took for granted WHAT a devotion was. Every morning of my life, I get up and dig into the Word, then say my prayers. But I had to explain what a devotion was to a man who didn't believe in God.

We talked the entire trip home and when we landed I gave him a Christian Devotions business card and asked him to visit the site. He promised he would, in fact, he put the card in his wallet instead of trashing it.

I got to tell him about the God he didn't believe in. And before it was over the best description of a devotion I could come up with was this:

A devotion is NOT just what you read about God,
it's the time you spend
getting to know Him as well.

We're devoted to lots of things in our lives but are the things we're devoted to giving back to us? So I ask this question....where does your devotion lie? Family, friends, work? or God? You tell me. What is a devotion?