I’m not that person. I’m not the sell-everything-move-to-the-slums-of-Calcutta-like-Mother-Theresa person. That’s not the invitation I’ve sensed from God. Yet.
I’m an ordinary girl trying to follow Jesus where He’s put me and getting it wrong a lot.
But if there’s one passion I have, it’s responding to the invitations God extends, as crazy as they might seem in my ordinary world.
The thing is these invitations rarely arrive in a giant Oscar-like envelope with a red seal screaming “THIS IS IMPORTANT! PAY ATTENTION!”
We long for invitation, but sometimes we have to lean close because the invitation is a whisper not a shout.
Recently, Bob Goff wrote,
“Jesus won’t try to speak over the noise in our lives; love whispers so we won’t be confused about who’s doing the talking.”
Sometimes it’s a whispered invitation to stop. And do something you’ve never done before. Something a tiny bit scary, or uncomfortable, or potentially embarrassing.
The whispered invitation may come right in your cramped apartment, or in your dysfunctional family, or on the road to work.
The invitation might look like a Jamaican cleaning woman stranded on the side of the road needing a ride,
or an injustice that begs for a note to your congressperson,
or a kid who could use a mentor or a meal.
The other day I saw a friend of mine who responded to the quiet invitation from God to take her aging parent for a delightful afternoon tea out, giving her mom loving attention and a listening ear no matter how confused she got.
Here’s the thing though. I believe three ingredients are needed if you’re going to respond to these gentle, holy invitations.
An eye, an ear, an hour.
An eye for those in need, an ear attuned to the whispered prompts of God, and the time to respond.
I guess maybe the fourth thing that is needed is a willingness to actually do the work of responding, but the element that I think is most often missing in our lives, the thing that prevents us from responding to God’s invitations, is lack of margin.
A mentor of mine always said, “If you’re too busy to take a pot of soup to someone in need, you’re too busy.”
I know, I know…in some seasons margin is beyond our control. And maybe the person in need is you. You’re the perpetual care-giver who, like Elijah after an intense season, needs to respond to the whispered invitation for a snack and a nap.*
Then do that. Pray. Rest. Replenish.
But whether God whispers an invitation to be part of some kingdom work, or kingdom rest today, which element is most likely to get in the way of you responding? An eye to see the needs, an ear to heaven, the guts to respond, or the time to do it?
God, show me where You want to work today, and invite me to be a part of it. I’m trying to pay attention.
*1st Kings 19