An Unforgettable Duty

About 12 years or so ago, I got a call for jury duty in downtown Boston. After the usual shrug, I showed up with what seemed like 200 other annoyed people at the courthouse and moved into the waiting area. If you haven’t been to jury duty in Boston or a place like it, this is what they do. First, you wait in a big room, and behind the scenes lawyers and judges have discussions about the cases for the day. They eventually come back with the news from these discussions. Sometimes it happens right away. Sometimes it takes all morning. Anyway, a lot of times, a whole bunch of people are let go right away (with great joy). Then, sometimes, you actually get called into the courtroom. They bring a whole herd of folks into a courtroom, and then they start to choose jurors for a trial.

Well, this time, that’s what happened to me. Each step of the way, you’re hoping that something happens that will let you go, either you’re number is past the cutoff, or you have some legitimate reason that disqualifies you. But it just wasn’t happening this day.

So, the lawyers and judge are still choosing jurors, and I was feeling pretty good, because the case in question involved a supermarket. Perfect, I thought. I used to work in supermarkets. I started thinking of all the years and places that I worked. Yes, that would be enough conflict of interest to keep me out of the jury. I’ve got my out.

So, it was finally my turn to go up to the bench. I walked up and stood there, with the two lawyers glaring at me, the judge asked me if I felt there was any reason that I wasn’t qualified to judge the case impartially. So, now, I was set. I had silver bullet, and now was the time to use it, and use it I did: “Well, I worked in a couple of supermarkets for several years.” There it was. Direct hit, ship sunk. Just a few more moments, and it’s Dunkin Donuts, here I come. “Well, Mr. Kiley, do you think that experience would keep you from judging impartially?” Wait a minute, he wasn’t supposed to ask that. What happened to my bullet? It wasn’t supposed to bounce off him. My hopes fell. A pause…. “No.” I was in. Three days.

Then something happened.

It ended up that I got elected as the head juror. All the jurors were interested in the case. We all got along, and even more than that, we all liked each other, and by the end of it, we were like friends. You know, it was a great experience, and even though I’ve forgotten the details of the case, I haven’t forgotten the experience. This thing I was running away from, when I honestly said yes to it, it was an experience that I am glad I lived, and it is unforgettable.

I imagine the Lord praying in the Garden on the night He was taken captive to be tried. I imagine Him before Pilate and the Jews and He’s got the silver bullet to get out of it. He’s going to tell them all that He’s the Son of God, and that He’s going to rule forever. That’s a big conflict of interest with crucifixion and death, right? But it doesn’t work. He’s crucified and put to death. Three days in the tomb.

Now, I wasn’t there, but I bet during those three days, everyone who had suffered and died chose Him to be the leader, and I bet they all became friends. That place that no one wants to go became a very special place of friendship and memories.

If God is calling you to some place that no one wants to go, something that looks like a dead end, something you want to get out of, when you are called to your “jury duty”, don’t be afraid to go. When you say yes to it with Him, you will be glad you did it.

It will be unforgettable.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mt 19:28-30)

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