Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REDUCE (11/05/15)
- TITLE: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?
By Donna Powers
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“Good morning, Reverend Gilbson. Thank you for coming.”
Bishop Kearns looked at the young minister. It was hard not to smile at this young, earnest pastor-in-training. He looked like a caricature of a 1950s college student: a smiling crewcut blonde with a blue plaid shirt, navy blue vest and crisply ironed navy slacks. Reverend Preston Gibson was the picture of youth and eagerness. He was here for his 90-day evaluation.
“So, how goes your assignment?” the Bishop began.
Gibson’s smile intensified. “Just wonderful, Bishop. I’m learning a lot from Pastor Carter, and I enjoy working at the thrift store. The food pantry is doing well, and our missionary couple in Taiwan is sending some encouraging reports.”
The Bishop checked some notes, and when Gibson didn’t continue, he prompted him. “I didn’t hear you mention the rescue mission, Reverend. If I’m not mistaken, that’s one of the areas you’re working on.”
The smile disappeared, and wrinkles appeared on Gibson’s forehead. Enthusiasm had definitely dimmed. “Well, Bishop, to be honest… that’s not going so well.”
“Please tell me more.”
“Bishop Kearns, I’m doing my best. I really am. I’ve tried everything I can think of. I talk to the men and I offer them coffee and pamphlets. I give them information about detox. I preach my heart out; but they don’t seem to be paying attention or asking me questions.”
“Go on, please.”
Gibson seemed relieved, and continued. “I go there twice a week, like I’m supposed to. I greet everyone, and offer them coffee. I preach my sermon and give my invitation. But, nobody has come forward; since I’ve started working there.”
“They aren’t an easy bunch to reach, Reverend. Many are addicts. Some may even be involved in crimes.”
“Yes, I know. It’s an important mission for our church. But, no matter how hard I try; I just don’t seem to be reaching them. I hate to quit a job, but I’m beginning to think I’m just not the right person for this part of the job.”
Bishop Kearns looked at the young man with compassion. “Mr. Gibson… do you mind if I call you Preston?”
“Of course not, Bishop.”
“Preston, are you saying you can’t do this part of the job?”
Gibson squirmed, but met Kearns’ gaze. “Yes, Bishop. I’m sorry, but I’m not the right man. Maybe I can help with something else.”
Bishop Kearns paused and said a quick silent prayer. Then he raised his head and faced the younger man. “Preston, I think you’re right. I believe you shouldn’t do that part of the job.”
Gibson smiled widely. “Oh, thank you, Bishop! I really did my best! Thank you for understanding. What do you think I should do instead?”
Bishop Kearns smiled. “I think you should let God do that job.”
Gibson’s eyes flew open, and his cheeks were flushed. “Well, of course it’s about God! I wanted to lead those men to Jesus!”
The Bishop shook his head. “Preston, I believe that’s true,” he responded, gently. “But you keep saying ‘I’ did this or that; or ‘my sermon’. I see your sincere desire to do this job, but remember: if you do anything for the Lord, you need to ask Him to do it, through you.”
Gibson looked confused. “I don’t understand.”
“Let me explain,” answered the Bishop. “It starts with prayer, and with a time of listening to God. I’d like to pray with you, now, and then ask you to take time, today, to wait for guidance from the Holy Spirit about how to handle the challenges are facing, at the mission.”
“But you said I didn’t have to do it, anymore!”
“YOU don’t have to do it, Preston. But God can use you as His instrument; He needs you to speak the words and take the actions which spread His message. He needs you to be His hands and feet. He can and will give you the right words. He will surely give you the guidance, compassion and understanding the people need."
Understanding dawned, slowly, across Preston’s face. “All right, Bishop Kearns. I hear what you’re saying. I get it. I’m willing to pray, and to listen.”
The Bishop smiled as he stepped out from behind his desk, and sat next to Gibson. He reached out his hand, and indicated that he wanted to start praying. Together, they bowed their heads.
And God’s adventure began.
2 Corinthians 12: 9 “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
references from the King James Bible
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