Sunday’s Scripture ~ First Corinthians 9:19-23
This past Tuesday I completed my volunteering in a first grade class at the neighboring elementary school to Reeves. This class of 17 six and seven year old taught me each time I visited them about true joy, hardwork, striving for excellence, and perseverance. I am thankful that after 180 days these precious children will enjoy a great summer (although it’s very soggy today…six days into the 2013 Hurricane Season and Tropical Storm Andrea is just dumping precipitation on the
Sunshine Rainy State). I will miss these students and treasure the lessons they taught me.
At the beginning of each week the first graders would select jobs or roles they would serve in their classroom family for the week. Roles ranged from doorholder to caboose to messenger to weather reporter to librarian to substitute, to teacher helper to day-of-the-week friend, to number-of-school-days-friend, and more! There were 17 first graders and therefore 17 roles to fill.
The students took great responsibility in their roles. They were always quick to jump up and perform or live into their role. If they were a little slow to get up sometimes the substitute would move to stand in…or step on the toes of the student that was to be in that particular role. When this happened, it didn’t go over well, because that role belonged to that particular student. He or she took pride in completing it, serving his or her classmates in that way.
In the Scripture passage this week Paul talks about the role he played in “walking across the room” so that others would grow in their relationship with Christ. Essentially he became all things to all people. He adjusted or modified himself in order to meet people where they were and nurture them in their relationship with Christ.
Somedays he was prophet. Somedays he was teacher. Somedays he was pastor. Somedays he was companion. Somedays he was mentor. Paul was attuned to the Spirit, which led him in the role he was to play at each time, and place, and community.
As we continue to read Scripture we can also identify times where Paul possibly pushed the role he was meant to live into a bit far and the situation became reactive by either escalating to argument or dissolving into frustration. This is Scriptural evidence that we are called to only play the role set before us as led by the Spirit in each time, place, and community when we venture to walk across the room.
I hope as I – as we, the children of God – walk across the room we do so with discerning minds, connected to the Spirit so we know what role it is we are to engage in that space. And I hope that I – we – do so in the passion of the first graders I spent three hours a week with for the past 20 weeks – excited, ready to work hard, to show what we know, and not let anyone take our place.
Let’s know our role. And let’s walk across the room.
Prayer: “I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have born my peoples pain. I have wept for love of them, they turn away. I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone. I will speak my word to them, Whom shall I send? Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord? I have heard You calling in the night. I will go Lord, if You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.”* Amen.
*”Here I Am, Lord” from The United Methodist Hymnal, 593.