"Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 I don't think that God has ever proven this verse more true to me than He did this summer.
A couple of years ago our previous Children's Director applied for and got a job at the Central District Office of the United Methodist Church as the Central District Administrative Assistant. Even though at that time I was not looking for a job, I remember thinking, "Man, if I had known about the job opening I would have applied. That sounds like an awesome job that I would enjoy." At the time I was volunteering in all aspects of the Youth Department, helping with some of the finances in the Church Office, and was SPRC chair.
Over the past year, this chapter in my family's life had begun to change. All of my children are now teenagers (Lord please help me and keep me in your prayers) and are getting jobs and taking on more responsibility. They can, for the most part, take care of themselves. I started thinking, I don't need to be home for them all the time anymore. So I decided that I wanted to go back to work. Then when I heard this Spring that the very position in the Central District Office that I had thought would be perfect for me was becoming available again, I jumped at the chance to apply. I sent in my cover letter and resume and waited. And waited. And waited. I finally decided to find out if they had started interviewing for the position. Much to my dismay, the position had been filled. I was very disappointed that I didn't even get an interview. I decided to take advantage of the rest of the summer with my girls swimming, going to the library, and resting, and then when my kids started back to school, I would look for a part-time job somewhere in town. My kids and I were enjoying our summer, and one day, while we were home watching a movie, I got a text that read, "Are you still interested in the Administrative Assistant job?" My heart skipped a beat and I texted back, "Yes, definitely!" Then came, "Can you come in tomorrow for an interview at 10:00?" "Yes, I can!" The next day I interviewed and, I would later come to find out, that I had all the right answers to their questions. I got the call while still driving home that they wanted me for the job and could I start the next day! Of course, I could start the next day!
So what does the Administrative Assistant for the Central District do? Well, I do all of the things that you would think an Administrative Assistant would do like answering the phone, composing emails, scheduling appointments, filing, scanning, etc. In addition, I also have the privilege of speaking with and welcoming into our Office our Pastors from central Arkansas. I get to see someone go through the process of answering their call to become a United Methodist pastor. I get to help with pastor assessments, all aspects of the District Charge Conference, and beyond. I have the opportunity to network with not only pastors, but also, church office staff, children and youth ministers, administrators from the other four Arkansas Districts, lay leaders, and many more people from the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist connection is my favorite part of living and working as a United Methodist. What an amazing opportunity it is to serve God in this way!
The road I took to where I am now was a long one, with a lot of speed bumps in that road. I still don't understand why God let me be disappointed in not being called in for an interview the first time, but He knew that being the Administrative Assistant was what I was supposed to do. And, God has His own timeline for things to happen. I will leave you with this: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or want. I can do all this through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:12-13
The worlds' problems are endless - terrorism, poverty, pandemics, domestic violence, racism and hunger. And no one seems to be able to fix them. Not governments, foundations, education, businesses or religion. Yet God is audacious enough to say to you, "You can make a difference." And, believe it or not, you can.
You can speak a word of love in the face of hate, sanity in the midst of insanity and hope in times of absolute despair. You can mentor a child, spend time with a home-bound senior or help fight childhood hunger. You can pray with someone and share how God has made a difference in your life. This is not just some nice-sounding faith cliche about how things might be one day. It's something you can actually do today. And it's something you need to do today. Because if you don't, who will?
Bishop Robert Mueller
September 4, 2019