July 14, 2021 - Center of the Road
"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet, and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil." (Proverbs 4:25-27)
In reading the Gospels, I am reassured when I see Jesus saying "no" to what, on the outside, looks like a great ministry plan.
"Jesus, there are a lot of people already showing up to see you today. It's going to be a great day."
"No, we are leaving and going to another village."
"Disciples, we are going to head back home to Galilee. Let's go."
"Ummm....aren't we going the wrong way? No Jew goes through Samaria."
"No. We go through Samaria."
"If we go to Jerusalem they will kill you. We can't go. Let's stay up here in our own stomping grounds."
"No. We must go to Jerusalem."
Paraphrasing of course, but true accounts of Jesus and his earthly journey. He always seemed to be focused on what was needed to accomplish his mission and what was not . He didn't turn to the right or to the left. Center of the road. No blurred vision.
I recently said "yes" to being on a local community board. I was privileged to be asked, especially since I am so new to the community. And...it seemed to fall in line, at least on appearance, with what my mission is.
Within a week -trouble. Employee trouble. But as I received further documents I began to see clearly that the organization itself was in trouble. Mission creep. That which it started out to be and for which it was named is no longer the focus of the organization. The tail is wagging the dog. The dog is tired of being wagged. Have you ever seen some of those dogs with stubby tails, tails that were cut off as pups? Inference.
My initial thought was to immediately resign since it had only been a month since I was admitted. No harm. No foul. I didn't sign up for this. I am an unpaid volunteer who simply wanted to devote some time to make a difference in the community in which I live. What should I do? A feel like a ditch is in my future if the car doesn't correct itself.
But...I am beginning to see a divine purpose in the tumult. A board member possibly returning to the church that I currently serve - a place he grew up but has since left. The ability to use my peace-making skills and conflict management skills. The opportunity to do something significant with other community leaders, to right something that has gone left, to renew a ministry that is still desperately needed. The privilege of carrying with me the presence of Jesus to employees who need the saving grace of God.
I was reminded that we want life to be easy but its not - or shouldn't be. Our greatest strength in times of trial is recognizing our weakness - our inability to manage the circumstance, to change an organization, to change a person, to change oneself. Reflection.
"But Jesus, its easier to go around."
"No. Through Samaria we go."
Center of the road.
A divine opportunity. Pray.