This past weekend I attended a conference that was taking place in Austin, TX while I was in my hometown in MO via a livestream. Before I get into this blog post, can we all just acknowledge how amazing technology is? This whole Internet thing, it is the future.
Anyway, the conference was called the IF Gathering (you should probably check it out, because it’ll be back next year) and it was basically a bunch of women who love Jesus gathering to get fired up about how to move forward in this life.
I can feel some of my readers’ eyes sliding off the page. I want to implore you to finish reading this blog post, no matter how you feel about the premise. Please just hear me out.
The women who spoke were amazing. Just amazing. And I don’t want to start gushing about each one because it lasted all weekend and I don’t have that kind of writing stamina. But I came away feeling like I have more of a direction now than I have had for a long, long time.
Because I’ve been kind of meandering through life, like, “okay, I don’t really know why I’m here or what I’m doing, so I’m just going to keep doing my everyday thing and hope that some sort of mission or purpose falls in my lap.” And it wasn’t working, y’all.
I have been the most uninspired, the most apathetic, the most lazy lately that I have been in a long time. And this weekend, I saw what I had been missing, and that is service. One of the speakers reminded us that when the Bible says to feed the hungry and serve the orphans, that is literal. There are seriously, for real, hungry people and children without parents in our world (I know, I know. But it is SO EASY to forget when I’m sitting in my middle class home, doing my middle class life, ya know?). The suffering is incredible, and it is everywhere.
I was reminded that I am here to love people. To serve people. To show people what I know to be true: that the gospel is real, that God is real, and that there are, in fact, people on this planet who are willing to try to love and to serve them the way that they are supposed to be loved and to be served.
I am fully aware that I cannot save the world. That’s not my aim. But, dear readers, I live right behind a Title-I school where children are going home hungry. Where parents fail to show up to functions because they don’t have a car, or work multiple jobs, or whatever it is. I live right next door to an elderly woman who is alone most of the time. I work near one of the poorest sections of my town. The need is here, and it is real.
You guys, I love people. That’s why I write. That’s why I do what I do. But I haven’t been acting like I love people lately at all. Watch out, because I’m going to throw a little Bible verse action your way right now. Matthew 25:34-40 says:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 ForI was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,6 you did it to me.’
Do you realize that what I’m saying is that I’ve been living like a hypocrite? I tell people that I’m a Christian, and here I am, letting people right next door to me suffer. I want you to know that I’m consciously saying, “no more.” I know that the Christian most people see is the Christian that goes to church on Sunday and criticizes everyone around them on Monday. I don’t want to be that person. I want to show the people in my life what a Christian calling looks like. I hope you see it in me. If you don’t, I would love for you to let me know.
And, for what it’s worth: I love you. All of you. Thanks for sticking with me through this one.