Today I had a wonderful time hanging out with an old church friend, Teresa. She saw me online this morning and asked if I wanted to meet for lunch since she had an hour break instead of the normal thirty minutes. So I met with her and we ate at Monterrey's and then walked over to Cato's for the last 15 minutes of her break. I greatly enjoyed that!
Last Saturday I went out with SSS. She is a friend whom I'd only talked to online. Andrew has known her husband for years and knew SSS, but I'd never met her face-to-face. She and her husband went to the West Bank last year and I've kept track of them via e-mail updates and Facebook. Anyway, finally she was back in town for a short visit and we got together for an hour at Smitty's ice cream shop. What a treat to meet such an encouraging lady! Several weeks back I asked her this by e-mail.
It's been wonderful reading about your experiences. How do you measure success? Do you find it in just knowing you are doing what God called you to do no matter what appearances show? Or have you seen actual progress in some areas of life there? I am eager to hear how YOU define "success" -- or maybe that's the wrong word. Hmmm. I hope you understand where I'm coming from with my question.
I greatly enjoyed her reply and was given permission to post it, but only to put it was from SSS and not her name thus why I'm using only her initials.
God doesn't call us to success, but to faithfulness. (Semantics here!) God's success IS faithfulness! So our young adult team has been faithful to the Gospel and perhaps the world cannot see much of a difference, but they will go home changed people who are able to be faithful in the circumstances of their lives. They will never forget what it's like to live under occupation and not be able to travel across a border to visit a sick relative because an oppressive power is controlling that border. (You and I could not ENTER Greensboro because it is controlled by the ones in charge holding the guns.)
The other thing God does NOT call us to is individualism, because God calls us into community. These young adults had to struggle with living in community and sharing everything while trying to live simply. They also witnessed the Palestinians living more simply and more harshly that the Israelis because of the occupation.
Finally, in my three-point sermon, (HAH - - did you know this was a sermon?) God doesn't call us to mind-numbing pleasure, but to servanthood. The world's call is to constant busyness with whatever feels good - - Nascar, television, computers, facebook, music, sports, eating, drinking, sex, obsession with our bodies, face lifts, family (and here I mean MY family is all that counts) and on and on. This sounds like a tirade against all that is fun and good, and that is not my intent, but God calls us to walk away from some of this stuff and take time to HELP others - - even if it means to sacrifice a little or a lot.
Sorry for not posting it sooner, but here it is now. Really great sermon, I thought.
Also the other evening we visited Sam and Pam at their restaurant. I've greatly enjoyed seeing some of my friends this week.