Saturday, August 08, 2009

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' (Matthew 25:34-36)

There was a recent article in my local paper describing the need for volunteers to help the Chaplain of our local hospital. The idea of chaplaining has intrigued me for some time- it's an opportunity to directly engage the community while actively living the Gospel. From prisons to hospitals to the military I've been brainstorming pursuing such an opportunity as a means of expanding my public ministry. (I was sick and you looked after me)

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

Of course I was thinking God might be telling me something when on one of my flights last week an Army Chaplain sat in the row in front of me right after I saw an ad to be a Chaplain in the Air Force Reserves in the most recent issue of Relevant. (At this point, I hadn't yet seen the article in my local paper.) So I shared this with a friend and he pointed out the hospital article and challenged me to do something about it. What? You mean actually acting out on these random thoughts in my head instead of crediting my own self-righteousness for at least thinking about it?

So I visited the hospital to check it out. As the position was being described to me I couldn't help but feel fear. The thought of standing beside someone as their loved one passes away or explaining to a child why her parent doesn't answer when he is in a coma caused my heart to sink. Could I really serve in this way, would I have what it takes to offer compassion and courage? Turns out, it won't work out with my schedule. I thought I dodged that bullet, but then the Chaplain told me I might still find myself "on call" for after hours needs. You know, tragic car accidents, gun-shot victims, complications delivering a baby. Um, yeah.

It's easy to point at Scripture and say what we should be doing, but it's much harder to commit to actually doing it. Who knows how God will use this opportunity in my life, but I pray he gives me the strength and selflessness necessary to glorify him and not myself. I also pray that God helps others to overcome whatever fears they may have that prevents them from pursuing their own dreams for God. I've long held that many of the social ills in our society would be alleviated if the 80%-or-so of Americans that call themselves Christians actually lived it out. I'm learning that's easier said than done.

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