As part of our training when attending seminary, we were obliged to do 5 hours of volunteer work on campus each week. The tasks included anything from scrubbing the floors, to cleaning the dirty kitchenware, to laundry duties, to being a receptionist, to correcting term papers… And the list could go on and on.
As I approached my first year at seminary, my only hope and prayer was to receive a duty that would not only fill me with a sense of responsibility, but would also bring me closer to God.
For some reason, newcomers always ended up with all of the undesirable duties. Take cleaning the main floor, for example. This was my assigned task. But it could have been worse. My friend Johnny (Not His real name, to protect him from repeating the past!), had to clean toilets and shower stalls!
Although I was not fully enthusiastic about the job, I took it on with gusto, and as I worked, I sang at the top of my lungs. I don’t know if it was that they liked my work, or if my singing gave them a splitting headache, but I was soon promoted to the position of receptionist. It was a change that I welcomed with open arms. After all, greeting people and answering the phone was much better than scrubbing floors!
My favourite responsibility as a receptionist was to sound the wake-up call at 6:30 every morning. I usually did so with my choice of dynamic music blaring over the intercom. After all, Tchaikovsky has the gift of wakening even the dead!
A year later I was promoted to the position of personal assistant to one of the seminary professor. My responsibilities here included grading tests and papers. I graded so many that it soon became second nature for me to do so. I wonder if this is why I ended up becoming a teacher …
Eventually I was given the position of overseer. My responsibility was to oversee the cleaning crew for the campus church. This task was perhaps the most fulfilling of any I had done up until then. Why? Because as soon as the work was done, I would dismiss the cleaning crew, lock all the doors, and sit down in front of the organ, where I would play praise songs to the Lover of my soul to my heart’s content.
To be honest, I was far from being a virtuoso. The strange cacophony of sounds that escaped my fingers would have caused any poor soul caught sneaking into the chapel to run for their dear lives! Nevertheless, these moments of delight brought me closer to my Maker, and when I graduated, I actually missed having to do those 5 hours of community service. What had started out as a chore, ended being something to look forward to!
I now realize that many of my fears are created because I so often do not trust in the Lover of my soul. I go through life wearing my long face, I miss out on opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others as well as my own. I fail to realize that each moment in time that God has granted me is filled with opportunities. If I could only see them as such, I would stop dragging my feet and I would start looking forward to the next opportunity!
In other words, those who truly fear the Lord, those who truly never want to hurt the Lover of their soul, will look at everything in life as an opportunity to serve Him. This will result in them being filled with a longing for each and every upcoming opportunity! And by doing so, they will truly become devoid of fear, as they will quickly discover that they surely “lack nothing”!
“Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.” (Ps 34:9 NIV)
“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (Ps 145:19 NIV)
Would you like to have the opportunity to clean the garbage bin?
Even with such menial tasks, we can give glory to the Lord!
(To access the entire “Fear Factor Considerations” devotional series, please click here.“