so i've been thinking a lot lately about missions and serving and my path and my purpose and where God is leading me.
personally i'm in a rather frustrating place right now.
nine months ago...(NINE! i could have had a BABY by now!)i graduated from college with my bachelors degree in international service. i chose international service over theater because despite my giftedness in the theater arts, i really have a heart for helping people, especially in other countries whose infrastructures aren't adequately developed to protect the rights of their own citizens. i realized that God was calling me in that direction, and to this day i stand by my choice. even though i miss theater terribly in a profound way (it will never be completely out of my life) the truth is that i could spend my entire life on stage and be happy, but i could not spend my entire life not actively working to benefit the causes i care so much about and be happy.
immediately after graduation i sort of fell into a position in fair trade at a local non profit. the timing was perfect and because of previous work with the same organization i was well equipped and it made sense. unfortunately due to the status of the organization at the time of my arrival, and some decisions on the part of the board of directors, it only lasted two months. two months that were very very stressful for me. i came out of it being given the short end of a none too hefty stick, but having learned a lot of some things not to do.
after a couple of weeks of rest, a few more of job searching, i landed a job in fast food where i work to this day.
obviously this isn't exactly what i had in mind.
i've been looking for other jobs, constantly struggling with my ADD and indecision in order to get anyway. slowly drowning in debt, life is kind of discouraging right now.
i've been considering the peace corps, i've been considering it for months.
when i took the fast food job, i did it knowing that if that was where God had me, then that was where God needed me. God doesn't set us aside to be used later. He uses us all the time, and in increasing increments. one of the most inspiring parables to me is that of the master who gives his servants talents (money)
to one he gives a large amount, the second a smaller amount, and the third the least amount. the servant with the most goes out and invests what he's given and doubles what he's been given. the second does the same. but the third, being fearful of losing what his master has given him, hides what he has. when the master returns home he is overjoyed by servants one and two at what they have accomplished for him, and promises to trust them with even more in the future. but he is very angry with the third servant and asks him why he didn't at least put the money in the bank where he could have received interest. he sends the last servant away.
if i want God to trust me with large acts of service, i have to do well with the service and gifts that he has given me now.
but still this isn't even the point of my blog today.
yesterday my house church sent off one of our own to serve at a ministry in canada for two months. there was a lot of talk of jealousy for what she got to be doing and such which lead to how we serve. the term "event based serving" was used. and i realized that we have in our christian culture a flawed concept of serving, that it is something done in a instance, and not a lifestyle. but it truly is a lifestyle. whenever Jesus challenged someone else in the bible it wasn't for a moment, it was for the rest of their life! He never said, "if you want to follow me, then do this thing next week, and keep yourself open for other charity opportunities that might come your way" he instructed people to lay EVERYTHING DOWN!
if serving is a lifestyle, then i don't need to freak out about what kind of job i have. God has me where he needs me right now. serving is every moment of every day. if i am truly to walk in his footsteps, then i am to truly have no place to lay my head, i am to put my hand to the plow and not look back, i am to let the dead bury their own.
this is the kingdom. the kingdom spreads, and doesn't spread on an event to event basis.
if you feel like you need to serve more, don't wait for the next event. spend some time in prayer and find out who God has placed in your life that needs served right now. ask him to reveal to you the gifts he has given you so you can understand how best to serve.
a mantra we have at my church is Pray, Provide, Participate. (i like this mantra because if there are three things that the american middle class loves besides lattes, it is alliteration, platitudes, and finding depth without diving deep.) basically, in any place where there is a need, you can pray for that need to be filled, you can provide to fill the need, or you can participate in carrying it out.
this isn't every event. this is every moment.