Thursday, March 29, 2007

Surprise Me!

I've been teaching a curriculum designed to introduce young adults to the church. (see
Here's a story from the last lesson, on vocation:

All of his life Tim had been going to church and knew that God
loved him, had called him in Holy Baptism, and had important
work for him to do in this world. He had been in a continuing
conversation with his pastor about how to know the will of God
for his life. Now he was 30 years old, married with three young
girls, and still struggling to know the will of God for his life. He
decided to sign up for a discernment seminar offered by his
church and began to pray for direction from God with more fer-
vor than ever before. When he showed up for the seminar, his
pastor noticed that he was relaxed in the way he responded to the
participants as they shared their own stories about what they were
going to do with the rest of their lives. Finally it was Tim’s turn
and he said: “You know, all of my life I have wanted to do what
God wanted me to do. I’ve asked over and over, ‘Lord what do
you want me to do with my life?’Then the other day, after I
signed up to do this workshop, I prayed again, ‘Lord, what do you
want me to do with my life?’And it was like the voice of God
came down from heaven and said: ‘Well hell Tim, what do you
want to do with your life? I’ve been working with you now for 30
years. Surprise me.’”

I just love this image of a God who will say, "Well, hell, what do YOU want?" Yes, God calls us to particular tasks and ministries, but God uses what we have to do them, including our own interests and desires, also gifts of God. God uses who we are, where we are, when we are, and what we have to do ministry. It's a holy calling because we are God's holy people. It doesn't mean anything goes, but it does mean that God trusts us to BE the body of Christ in the world, to carry the love of God into the world, to let the Spirit blow through us into the world. When we are in relationship with God, we recognize God's voice (like those sheep in John 10) and can figure out the difference between God's desires and our own, when there is a difference. Disciples learn, and when we live with God we learn how to be God's faithful people. We can shape our own lives and do things in our own way, knowing that we are God's, and we won't be too far away from God's desires.

Our vocation is what we do with who we are as children of God. God has surprised us by loving us in the first place; now it is our turn to surprise God.


At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

any hints, by chance?


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