So, I was given a very exciting gift this Christmas- a Starbucks giftcard! (Yes, I know that local is better, but you don't live where I live. Coffee Bandits on Main St. may change this reality- my first mocha there was very pretty, an important quality in a mocha.) The thing I love about my gift card is that it fills a household budget void and makes me feel like I now have the power to make any day special. And with the average cost of the drinks I choose, I have the power to make about 10 days special.
For some of you, this may seem ridiculous that a cup full of chocolate milk and a little bit of coffee can make a day special, but a while ago my family decided to focus our resources on what really matters. The resource of my time was reallocated so that more was spent with little ones and less was spent earning dollars. The resource of our money was reallocated so that debt could be eliminated and freedom to follow God's call wherever could be gained. These weren't decisions I would have been able to make 10 years ago (when I was working more and racking up all that debt- wait, how does that work??).
But someone must have been praying for me like Paul prayed for the church of Philippi. "That your love may become more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ." Philippians 1:9-10 Common English Bible
Now, I'm able to decide that mochas and turbo-engines aren't what really matters. Neither do popularity or perfect skin. What really matters are the things that free us up to share more and more love, more and more of God. What really matters to you?
Cheers- to a special day!
I think that everyone feels alone sometimes. Being alone in your work, paid or unpaid, can bring loneliness as well. As we were wondering today whether the UCM Occupy Movement was actually sleeping in their tents at night, I wondered what it would have been like to be the first one sitting there, waiting and hoping for a community.
We're reading Philippians Chapter 1 this week in small groups, so I'm thinking about Paul going from place to place- being the first voice to share about Christ, sometimes being alone in his witness. I wonder how often he felt lonely being a lone voice.
I know that I would be lonely if I were doing this work of campus ministry alone. And so as I read Paul's prayer of thanksgiving, I felt an overwhelming gratitude for the students and local Board members who are in this with me. We aren't waiting for community- we already have it. "I'm glad because you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel..." Paul's affection for those partners was real. I am sure of that because I feel it, too.
Where have you found community in your work? Who are the partners that you are grateful for?
I just wanted to say welcome back, I've missed you. It was great fun to go on campus and see students again- lots of students- everywhere, students! And it was even more fun to talk to some of you and hear about your break and what is in store for the semester. I'm praying for you and I mean that.
And I'd love to see more of you! We can start this Sunday at 9:30 (!Coffee is served!) AM at Merced UMC for worship and then go pig out at the BBQ Pit. You can eat daintily if you want, but the big pig statue outside makes me think that would be inappropriate for the setting. Hope to see you then!
Last year was significant for our Wesley Foundation Campus Ministries. We had our first trip to United Methodist Student Forum in a few years, launched small groups and worship at the UC, held weekly Bible Study at Merced College and our service and fellowship events gathered more students than in the past. Plus, I learned to cook for a crowd by inviting our student leaders over for dinner once a week. It really was a great year. We have been heading in the right direction and I am hoping for a 2012 full of blessings for our students and the ministry as a whole.
Before we get there though, isn't it nice to have a break between semesters? I spoke to many people in the past two weeks who don't have as much time off anymore, who live in the rhythm of the "real world." Time to rest and refresh- use it well and hold onto each day with a spirit of gratitude. See you soon!