An Invitation to Redirection

It was Bruce Cameron who invited me to participate as a volunteer in what would be my first Kairos prison ministry weekend. I had always had a heart for the incarcerated— not in the sense of minimizing their crimes, but imagining the overwhelming sense of failure and hopelessness— so when Bruce asked, I said, “yes.” Likewise, when Rich Mendola invited Peggy and me to participate in International Friendships’ (IFI) Friday night Bible study, we agreed. Through IFI, we had hosted many international students in our home over the years, building warm relationships along the way, so this was a natural step into deeper involvement. In retrospect, accepting these two invitations marked a seismic shift in my spiritual journey, for God worked through these ministries to redirect my gaze outwardly.

One of the last lessons Jesus taught on earth was that following Him means applying internal learning through external doing. After washing each of His disciples’ feet, He addressed them all: “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”1 In essence, Jesus was exemplifying the two greatest commandments: Love God with everything you are, and love others as much as you love yourself. “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets,”2 He had once said.

Yet over time we find that joining God’s invitations to serve others doesn’t feel like “law” at all; rather, as Paul refreshingly proclaims, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”3 And when we follow the Spirit’s lead into the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,”4 we experience the joy of obedience. For “the obedience that comes from faith”5 is not a means of earning God’s approval, but the joyful celebration that, in Christ, we already have it and the proclamation that others can, too.

God does equip us for His work, and He will call us to it. Some invitations may seem “bigger,” such as ongoing involvement in an established ministry, yet most will seem “smaller,” like the friend who cries out in despair, needing comfort, truth, and hope. Truth is, they’re all big. So watch expectantly and listen carefully. Then go eagerly.

Father, thank You for involving us in Your work. What a great gift of purpose! Draw us close, that we would know Your heart, speak clearly, that we may hear Your voice, and strengthen us in Your Spirit to go bear fruit for You. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 John 13:13-17 NIV [emphasis added]
2 Matthew 22:40
3 2 Corinthians 3:17 [emphasis added]
4 Ephesians 2:10 NIV
5 Romans 1:5 NIV

2 replies on “An Invitation to Redirection”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s