Guard’s meek-first Chapel message is well-timed
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Timing is everything. Just ask anyone who heard Ryan Guard speak at Chapel Monday morning in Grand Canyon University Arena.
The teaching pastor and student ministries pastor at Mission Community Church in Gilbert has timing that is spot-on, and he immediately grabbed the audience’s attention with his animated sense of humor, his storytelling ability and especially his message.
Listeners knew they were in for something special when Guard used Matthew 26 to set the scene of Jesus being betrayed in the garden. When it came time to talk about Peter cutting off the servant’s ear with his sword, Guard said of Peter, “He’s a moron. Can I say that? He’s going to slap me when I get to heaven.”
Guard’s point: Peter reacted the way most of us would, by fighting back.
“Have you ever been wronged?” Guard asked the crowd. “The easiest thing to do when you’re wronged is to come out swinging. And don’t we just love to see someone get what they deserve?”
But Jesus had a different reaction, of course. He allowed the events leading up to His death to transpire, fulfilling what He had said in Matthew 5:5. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
And yet, Guard said, “You think of meekness as weakness. … It takes more strength to keep your sword in your sheath than to come out swinging.”
Guard, who got his master’s degree in Christian Studies with an emphasis in leadership from GCU last year, further underscored his point by telling an elaborate story about what he did — and, more important, didn’t do — after his wife was attacked by another driver.
During the incident, which Guard said included the man blocking her in a parking space, getting out of his SUV and throwing a glass bottle at her car, she called her husband in a panic. The man was gone by the time Guard got there, “which is why I am currently right here speaking and not in a thriving prison ministry.”
She got the man’s license plate number, and, sure enough, Guard saw the SUV on the road days later. What did Guard do? Did he follow the SUV, track the guy down and get revenge? No. He knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. And he urged everyone to react to any negative situation in exactly the same way.
“I need you to find him,” Guard said. “Why? Because I want you to bless him. Like, literally. I want you to find whatever you can to pay for his meal, get a paint job on his car, give him whatever money you’ve got. … Why would you bless him? Because that’s exactly what Jesus has done for every one of us.”
Guard was rolling now. Anyone who didn’t hear his staccato delivery of what happened on Jesus’ final day should listen on the Chapel replay. Anyone who did hear it should listen again. It was that good.
“He was hated, questioned, betrayed, rejected, deserted, denied by his own people, spit on — you don’t spit on a man. He was spit on, punched, slapped, mocked, tortured, tortured!, crowned with thorns, stripped half-naked, humiliated, falsely accused, convicted, condemned, crucified.
“And when a guy who deserved to be on the cross next to Him started jeering at Him and yelling at Him and said, ‘Hey, get us off of here, buddy. Why don’t You get us down from here? Why don’t You take care of this?’, Jesus instead whispered, ‘Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.’ Whaaaat? Not, ‘Father, hurt ’em.’”
Guard said that very scene, which he called the “ultimate display of meekness we’ve ever seen,” popped into his mind when he thought about confronting the SUV driver.
“When people throw us into these situations, we have an opportunity to put on display something beautiful,” Guard said, inviting his listeners to “put down your sword and never pick it up again.” It’s hard to imagine a message about meekness delivered with more force.
Pastor Tim Griffin, GCU’s dean of students, said a mutual friend had told him about Guard, who was “perfect for our setting. I will have him back next year for sure.”
Yes, timing is everything. And there never is a bad time to listen to the right message delivered with timing like that.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker: Jamie Rasmussen, Scottsdale Bible Church
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.