Monday, May 5, 2014

Passion and Grace

It is a cold, rainy afternoon here in Lynden, Washington. Michael, his dad, and the dog are out hiking in the foothills somewhere. I am sitting at home next to a very warm and inviting fireplace, listening to the beautiful, consistent sound of the rain. It's 49 degrees outside (Fahrenheit, of course). I am dry. I am less chilly than I was prior to turning on the fireplace. The irony that this is our summer vacation has not escaped me, but I am very content.

In the midst of my enjoyment of the scene I described to you above, I realized that I am in the perfect mood for blogging. I had a fantastic conversation with a woman at church today. She is good friends with Michael's mom, and someone I've talked to occasionally when we're around in this area. Our conversation started with her asking me, "How did you see God working in Thailand this year?"

Bold. Straightforward. Probably one of the best questions a person could ask me, as long as they're willing to hang around and listen to the answer. (Seriously - if you ever feel like you want to ask a question, but you don't know what to ask - this is a good one to keep in mind!)

So I described to her how I saw God working in Thailand this year. How I saw him in the questions my students asked. How I was given the opportunity to tell Bible stories to my class without hesitation. How I felt so strongly that, although there are very few kids that I teach who profess to be Christian, there are a number of them that are searching. And how I know that God works in their hearts, even if I don't see the results.

The more I talked, the more passionate I became. The more passion I felt, the more I realized that God has given us a gift in the jobs that we have. Yes, I teach English. But more important to me is the building and cultivating of relationships. And the more I've thought about those relationships since that conversation this morning, the more I realize that I probably don't get as much from those relationships as I put into them. But I'm not burned out. I'm not tired of forming those relationships with my students. In fact, I'm even more eager to continue. What grace!

Here is something to think about: We, as Christians, are called to live our lives for Christ. Not just in name, but in everything we do. Every word we say. Every action we take. Every relationship we cultivate with every person we encounter on every day of our entire lives. How can we do this unless we really, truly believe that we have been called to do so? When we live for Him, we find joy in what we do because we don't do it for our own sakes. Christ is our meaning. His Kingdom is our purpose. And there is no other such noble cause to work for, nor can anything else be as fulfilling.

To quote the speaker from my graduation at Kuyper College four years ago: "Live extravagantly." Those two words are literally the only thing that I still remember from that entire speech, but I think they speak volumes when taken into the context of Christ. Don't hold back. Give everything you are and all that you have. His grace covers you and sustains you through each and every day.

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