I have an assignment. I should clarify that maybe. I should tell you that I’ve given myself an assignment. It’s the worst kind of assignment for me. It’s an assignment to be creative. I hate those. The whole reason that I quit pursuing the creative arts as a career back in the day was that I couldn’t deal with creativity on demand. It was too difficult to schedule times of creative influence simply to receive a grade which would then justify the exorbitant cost of my higher education. For me it just never worked that way. The way it usually worked for me was that I got graded for the schedule driven junk that I hated while those gems which occasionally came along during odd hours never saw the pages of a grade book. I don’t know how God did it, the creation thing I mean. Six days of continual creativity is more than my brain can comprehend. Writing this blog once a week is almost more than I can handle as it is. The other day I read back, with awe and wonder, through the 80 plus entries that I’ve written here. Let me make this clear though, it wasn’t awe and wonder about what was written. Actually, many times I wondered how I could have possibly thought that some of the randomness was worth writing. I was amazed that I had strung so many thoughts together on a consistent basis.
Anyway, back to the assignment. I have assigned myself the task of pursuing a regular “writing of the blog” gig with a magazine. It’s not a paying gig and it won’t lead me out of my current calling in the pastoral arts…a field that I just created myself. Actually it might enhance my ability to do what God has currently called me to do, namely lead people to lead others to a vibrant growing faith in Christ. God knows that I could use all of the enhancement that I can get my hands on. Actually, it’s a worthwhile and relevant cause because, from all indications that I’m seeing, most of us could use some improvement in that area. At least those of us with slightly less than megachurch status might appreciate the encouragement.
I’ve been wrestling with this idea of “assignment” because my submission for consideration is due by the end of the month. Due dates… that’s the hump that I need to get over. Actually as I’ve wrestled with this “assignment” on outreach I think that I’ve stumbled upon a correlation between the two, outreach and assignment I mean. The way I see it is this…we, those of us of the Christian persuasion, have turned outreach into assignment. Don’t get me wrong. I totally believe with all of my being that we have been charged with the task of outreach, individually and as the Church. I also have observed that we are often not acting up to the task. You could argue that we’ve been “assigned” the task. What I mean is simply this…I have come to believe that outreach needs to be more about inspiration than it is about assignment.
We put due dates where we have no right to assign them. We don’t have a due date because we’re not the giver of dates in the first place. Inspiration is the key. Godly inspiration along with some observation, followed by relevant, meaningful interaction will lead us to a more effective outreach. It fits into Paul’s principle of planting, watering, and reaping. God is the one working through the interaction of the individual and the Spirit. We are part of the process. There are no due dates on process. If I looked at outreach in the same way that I looked at creativity, I wonder where it would lead. If I looked at opportunity in the same way that I looked at inspiration, I wonder how much more effective my life would be. If I allowed the Spirit to lead and, when prompted, took full advantage, I can only begin to imagine what might be created in the lives of those who I long to influence. I don’t know how it might turn out. I do know one thing. Opportunities are far better than assignments.