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hope for churches in stress

Higher Ed

This week I will conclude 18 months of bi-vocational employment, working as a cashier in a local supermarket. It has been, so to speak, the equivalent of four semesters, or two academic years, of higher education.

I discovered a sense of mission in the workplace. I came to see that we serve people—in any context—by listening, helping, forbearing, and sharing our faith.

Even in brief encounters, we can be conduits of grace. In Mother Teresa’s words: “Let none ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

If we chafe in our circumstances, we can embrace contentment as expressed by one songwriter: “Only be still and wait his pleasure | in cheerful hope with hearts content. | He fills your needs to fullest measure | with what discerning love has sent . . .”

When job requirements don't mesh with our abilities, and we come face to face with our limitations, we are reminded that God works through flawed people. We can accept our weaknesses and trust God to work in the midst of them (2 Cor. 12:9).

Some celebrate a completed academic regimen with cap and gown, multi-colored hood, and a new title. All who follow Jesus can rejoice in an ongoing education by the Holy Spirit who takes us higher, deeper, and stronger in faith and character (Ps. 71:17; Jn. 14:26; 16:13-15; 1 Jn. 2:27).

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