“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful…Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossian 4:2 & 6
I should have seen her coming. She was filled with self loathing. Angry. Scared. Prone to spouting off esoteric ramblings. And she was very, very smart.
The conversation started easily enough until I tipped my hand. It turned out, I told her, that I objected to the bleak life she charted in front of me. No, I smiled with total gentleness, that’s not the way I roll. I follow Jesus.
Her eyes grew wide. Time stopped. I breathed in and then out, heart hammering in my chest. And behind my eyes, in the center of my heart, I prayed, Come, Lord Jesus. Only you can give me words to speak. Only you can come into this space, the space between two of your children.
The silence fell away and she spoke of disappointments, dreams canceled, bitterness left as the consolation prize. Over coffee, she asked about God and I answered with words that certainly weren’t mine. I drove away from the meeting with utter thankfulness and a heart that trilled to be used. He picked me to speak words of love!
Why do people think Christians are boring? I can’t think of life more active, more daring, more dangerous than being a follower of the one called Christ.
Paul’s words in Colossians sound like a huge “Pay Attention” sign. We’re to be watchful. For me, that means first being available. It means asking each morning, “Lord, send me. Pick me!” I have done this over the years sometimes with all the enthusiasm of my four-year-old submitting to having her blond hair washed. I’ve half-heartedly said, “Yep, I guess I can go.” And I’m not saying that God won’t pick the half-hearted and the half-awake, but I think the whole deal works better when we really spring to life and say with gusto, “You can send me. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know the Bible says your power is made perfect in my weakness. And God, I believe that.”
When we say, “I’m being watchful. Send me!” then God sends those extra-special moments and challenges that leave your heart hammering. When those things happen, when you hold your tongue over a supposed slight and then the next second brings blessing, God is moving. When you are patient with someone less abled and a few minutes later, a stranger says, “I saw what you did. I saw your love,” God is present. When you take a big gulp and press “Submit” to send money for a child to have cleft palette repair surgery, God dances in heaven.
But the big catch here is that following your Jesus can get uncomfortable. It can get weird. You may find yourself Googling “foreign adoption.” You may find yourself giving ten percent of a big salary– or more. You may find yourself reaching out to someone who quite frankly isn’t your first pick for a friend. Whatever your assignment, you can be assured it’s for you and you alone. Your purpose on Earth is unlike anyone else’s. It’s not mine and I can’t do it. Only you can. The question is: will you accept it?
I can promise one thing is certain: It will be a wild, wild ride.