In CPE, we are being asked to examine the myths or stories of our lives that influence our ministry. We are using Recalling Our Own Stories by Edward P. Wimberly.
Here are some of my thoughts so far: When I began working with children with disabilities (at age 11), I found a place where I could be happy. What I did was good enough. It not only pleased the adults, I felt I was truly helping the kids. I was capable. I was accepted. I was making a difference in someone’s life. I carried this same set of themes into my teaching career.
Now in ministry, I still want to be accepted for being capable and for making a difference in the church and in people’s lives.
Just I was writing these thoughts this week, I came across Job 29:1-5, 11-17.
Job 29:1 Job again took up his discourse and said: "Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me; when his lamp shone over my head, and by his light I walked through darkness; when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent; when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me;
11 When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved; because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.
Job is mourning the days when he believed God was with him and he was respected for his good deeds. Job however is wrong in two assumptions. First he believes that God is no longer with him, watching over him. Second he believes that the loss of his prosperity has taken his ability to do good for others. He sits on his ash heap lamenting rather than continuing to speak out for the rights of the down trodden. (Okay, admittedly the whole skin disease thing was a deterent to interacting with people.)
Lesson 1: Neither Job's nor my value before God has to do with the good things we do or things we give for other people.
Lesson 2: Showing kindness to other people isn't limited to those with material possessions.
God of love, show us how to love in all circumstances. Not because it will help us be glorified or loved but because you first loved us. Amen.