In his book Be Last: Descending to Greatness, Jeremy Kingsley shares a true story from his speaking internship with a well-known evangelist. The gentleman assigned Kingsley to grunt work. Eventually, Kingsley was allowed to speak for one minute at conferences, just to introduce the evangelist. This speaking internship was a bust in Kingsley's eyes. When the men met to discuss how things were going, Kingsley was reluctant to share his frustration; instead, the evangelist broached the subject and explained his actions.
I knew you could speak. I didn't know if you could serve.
This story has struck a nerve with me. I've taught Sunday School for the past several years. The current year closes out in a couple of weeks, and I've been trying to discern where the Lord wants me next year. I shared part of my struggle here and here. I took a good, long look at myself and saw the problem. I've been speaking but I haven't been serving.
I was distraught. Wanting to serve Him and accepting my failures hasn't been easy. I wrestled with serving at all this upcoming year, but I know that's not what He wants. I knew He had something in store, but I didn't know what it could be.
R & I worked with the youth in VBS last week. I'll tell you that I signed up for that gig because R is great with kids and the other classes were full. Even so, I felt an excitement I couldn't quite explain. I chalked it up to having a chance to work together (a rarity). On Monday night, I saw R with some of the youth guys, and I knew God was up to something. That same night, he told me he'd like to teach youth Sunday School, and felt he should start out with the younger guys. We mentioned this to no one.
On the way to VBS Tuesday, I prayed that God would just make His will crystal clear to us. That night, our youth minister asked R to teach the young boys' Sunday School class. We knew God was prompting us to pay attention. Prayer later confirmed that this is to be R's place.
As for me, I'd started to sense that the mistakes of my past may allow me to minister to the youth girls. Tuesday night, a couple of girls came to talk to me after class. One girl shared her biggest battle against the enemy. It's the same as mine (one that I've just come to deal with this summer). She told her friend that I'm easy to talk to (words can't describe how shocked I was to hear that). Again, I felt God nudging me. I talked to our youth minister about possibly working with the girls, and everything's fallen into place for me to teach a Bible study on Wednesday nights.
Also during this time, R questioned why I stopped sending cards and encouraging others. As a Sunday School teacher, I had gotten away from that. Working in a more laid-back youth environment, I should have more time to devote to caring for others and supporting R in his new role.
Not speaking. Serving.
I can't begin to tell you how different this will be for us. Moreso for me than for R. I have no idea why God wants us to walk this path. I can only imagine that it's because He knows we'll have to fully lean on Him. (I certainly know that.) I'm thankful He's strong enough to handle it.