from Rachel: Accepting Your Assignment

Question to consider: What’s holding me back from accepting God’s call to serve Him?


“I don’t appreciate the implication that I am failing to serve Him currently. This Sunday I actually have three different roles on the platform: choir, ensemble and drama. I am just wrapping a busy schedule of Awana, babysitting, choir practice & BSF volunteering. Not to mention PTA work which I see as service to Him of a different sort. It is true that everything takes a three month summer break, so I (/we) could do some short-term projects.

“I guess what holds me back from the big projects that involve going into Chicago, etc., is a fear of feeling inadequate for the job. I did a few in college and I always felt like I had nothing to give them – no great words, no useful talent, and no clue how to do any little job that needed doing. Also, I really just don’t want to do that sort of service.

“So I guess I could say I’m waiting for His call for a summertime service opportunity.”

Dearest Rachel –

It’s slightly amusing to read the almost defensive tone you start out with in your response to this particular question. And in a way, it was probably justified; throughout this journal, you’ve been pulling no punches about your spiritual shortcomings, but for once, you’d found an aspect of your spiritual life you saw no need to question, and came out and said so.

While we all fall short in so many ways, both before we take those first steps toward a relationship with Christ (which is why He came and took on our sins in the first place, after all) and in the process of walking with and becoming like him (it’s called progressive sanctification for a reason – we’re not made completely holy just like that, more’s the pity), we don’t all fall short in the same ways, just as we don’t all excel in the same ways. This was one of the ways in which you found yourself arguing with the journal, claiming this was not an aspect of your spiritual life where you were lacking – although you did admit that there was always more that could be done, and situations where you felt you weren’t of as much use as you though you should be.

The thing is, you had found your niche – you’d found many of them, in fact – and filled them as best you could even back then. And as some dried up, like choir and ensemble, others opened up, such as cleaning the sanctuary between services and the nursery during the services you weren’t attending as a congregant.

And it’s in those new capacities that you are remembered, by young and old alike.

Even today, you – and the impact you left by your service – are being commemorated by the church, a year after you left. We’ve lost plenty of people in the intervening year, you know – we’re still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, after all, among so many other things – but you left a huge mark by your presence and participation in a way that very few ever do.

It’s said that, in most churches, 20% of the people do 80% of the work, and I think most people who knew you would agree that you were among that 20%. I’ve even heard someone claim you were among the 2% doing 98% of the work; I think he was biased, but considering that changing diapers is not a way I would ever choose to serve the Lord (I barely could bring myself to do so to serve you or Daniel, back in the day, but that admittedly involved cotton diapers rather than disposables), I agree that the work you did went beyond the call of duty, even if it was something that went unnoticed at the time.

You did your best for as long as you could, and you will be remembered for it going forward for a long time to come. And while it’s painful for me to hear tributes to you – because it’s yet another reminder that you are gone, and have been for so long, no matter how hard I try to put that loss behind me sometimes – you deserve every word of those accolades.

Even if all you’ll be doing with them is laying them at Jesus’ feet.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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