Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Uniquely You

Three separate and unrelated quotations call to mind that God calls us to be uniquely who we are in order to uniquely live out our lives in belonging to God.

There’s an old Jewish saying: Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man, said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They’ll ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’ ”

We look around at other people and see their talents and gifts, accomplishments, and opportunities and may be tempted to try to be like them, to even be them. Yet God doesn’t want us to be like others, except to be like Christ. God wants us to be truly, uniquely ourselves because God values the diversity of talents and gifts, people and perspectives. Without our unique being, something will be missing in any given situation in which we find ourselves. We should constantly be asking ourselves—especially when we feel like we don’t see things like others do or have the same gifts and abilities— how God would expect us to add to or influence a situation. God doesn’t need more than one Moses, likewise God doesn’t need more than one of anyone else; God needs each one of us!

“Something’s your vocation [or calling] if it keeps making more of you.”-Gail Godwin

When we’re truly and uniquely being who God has created, called, gifted, and empowered us to be, it will “make more” of us, not less. By “making more” I believe that means that it is something that doesn’t diminish us but magnifies our own sense of self and relationship with God and others. When Jesus said that the yoke is easy and the burden is light, I believe he meant that when we’re truly being ourselves in service to God, it may require a lot of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy, but it will also “fit.” And not just “fit,” but make more of us in terms of joy and satisfaction at what we’re able to do. Like the image of the yoke suggests, usually what makes “more” of us, what multiplies and builds upon who we are, will be as the result of others pulling in the same direction, working together with us, and exponentially making our lives full of joy, like a cup running over.

True vocation joins self and service when “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”—Frederick Buechner

What we are most passionate about is the place where we can team up with God to make a difference in the lives of others and do what we love the most all at the same time!

What passion do you have that could be transformed into a ministry?

Taken from A Faithful Heart: Daily Guide for Joyful Living by Sally Dyck (Abingdon Press, 2010)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bearing Private Grief Publicly

Dear Friends,

When Joseph’s second son was born, he named him Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52). God can make us fruitful when He carries us into a place of affliction, but how?

He can surely use the pain, if we cooperate, to grow some of the fruit of the spirit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, and self control. I think it begins when we accept trouble with a “why not?” instead of a “why me?” attitude, and when we submit to His timing, not with a “why now?” but a “thy will be done”. As we learn to grow through suffering we will begin to know God, ourselves and others better through it all, and might even develop hidden gifts of mercy and grace that will only flower in the land of our suffering.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but for those of us who seek to serve the Lord, we will discover that at such painful times, like Joseph, we have a choice. We can become fruitful or barren, become overcomers or overcome. We can allow pain to drive us to God, letting the prison show us His face. While Joseph was in the pit, God showed him his mercy – in the prison of His kindness (Genesis 30:21) and in the palace of His grace.

Sometimes we can preach the most effective sermons of our lives from the prison or the pit, simply by responding rightly to people who are responsible for bringing us into the “land of suffering.”

When our turn comes, may He help all of us to be fruitful – for His sake.

In His Love,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine