an unexpected opportunity
More from the "Jesse's Life" files...just got an email I didn't expect tonight, in follow-up to something that was sent to me almost two weeks ago. I had skimmed over the first and taken it to be a group-wide call for nominations for leadership team members for Crossroads (the singles group I'm in). One of the current leaders is getting married this summer and another will likely be moving out west around the same time, so I suspect they're looking for two folks to pick up where the current members leave off. Having some ideas but not really knowing anyone well enough to nominate him/her for such a position of responsibility, I simply didn't reply.
But the follow-up was addressed to me directly. And upon further review of the original, it was addressed to me too. And of all surprises...turns out I (of all people) was invited to join the leadership committee, and in my haste I hadn't read the details in the email closely enough to get the hint. So now I only have a couple of days to pray over it and decide. For some this would be almost insignificant--simply another way to lead others--but for someone like myself who has always been content to stay in the crowd and not step out and who has never been "appointed" to a position of spiritual leadership and mentoring, this would be a huge leap.
My first response (jokingly but with a hint of seriousness) is that they must be getting desperate for leaders if the rock has fallen all the way to me. I don't by any stretch view myself as a spiritual leader, especially not someone that a group would look to for insight and direction. I've been rather lazy over the years when it comes to pursuing holiness, having not figured out how to stay consistent in my devotions and prayer life in my eight years of trying. And I sure don't have the strong knowledge of the Bible that I myself usually picture such leaders possessing. I do know some bits of theology here and there, but even that has grown rusty over the years due to my not cultivating my interest in those meat-and-potatoes aspects of Christianity. Most of all, I know I don't live a very godly lifestyle a lot of the time. Perhaps my introspective and general easygoing nature tend to present me as much more "in control" of my own issues than I really am, but I feel like I spend most of my time worrying about nonsense stuff or pursuing things that have no meaning. I may (unintentionally) fool some into believing I'm a spiritual rock of sorts, but I can't fool myself and I sure can't fool God.
Nonetheless, I've actually been praying and wondering about this sort of thing for a while, having come to the humbling realization recently that I ought to be growing much more and giving more back to the Church than I am. (This is especially true after I read that bit in the Packer post about reaching out to others in order to help one's own spiritual state.) I have figured I'll do missions or volunteer stuff or something service-oriented along those lines as oppportunities arise in the coming months, since working and serving seems to be a forte of mine and something I enjoy doing. And I've thought about trying to start some discipleships of some sort, by meeting one-on-one with some men I've gotten to know or through organizing small-group activities like movie/article/missions discussions. But I fear that could be similar to the blind leading the blind; in order to lead someone else one must first have some wisdom and godliness to impart to others. I've been around these folks plenty and haven't been a great example to them so far, but I guess at least I'm aware of that much. But I've been tossing around such things for a while now, so I suspect this could be something I've been praying for without realizing it.
The responsibility is big enough to be a bit scary though. The Bible sets high standards--1 Timothy 3 comes to mind--and issues strong warnings for those who would seek such positions of leadership. I've had some other chances, like scattered opportunities in InterVarsity in college and a co-leader role for a 1 Peter study in which I completely squandered a chance to take Bible teaching seriouly and gain valuable experience in such things. But if nothing else at least I have some experience and perspective (and regret--I'm convinced that can be one of the most powerful motivators for change) now that I didn't have then. I've screwed up plenty of moves in my relatively small number of years, but this is one of those things that just feels more significant and holds implications beyond just me. One's own life is one thing; bearing even a tiny amount of responsibility for the spiritual growth and leadership of others is another entirely. It has a sense of awe and fear to it instead of the worry and futility I often feel about my own situation. But perhaps this is just the chance I need to snap out of my years-long spiritual funk and start following Christ like I ought to be.
So, here goes I guess...unless God makes it obvious to me I shouldn't be doing this I'll commit to it. It should be a great opportunity and it will put me in good company. (Given my tendency to take after those I'm around, that's perhaps the most important piece in this for me personally.) I'm not convinced I'm up to the task, but if I can just rely on He who is then that shouldn't be an issue. The knowledge of what I need to do is there but it's the doing that's been my weak point all along...my prayer is that my slothful ways may finally be giving way to some much-needed diligence and desire to follow God's ways more.