Somehow over the past months (not sure how long it has been really), I have gotten out of the habit of walking my neighborhood. I blamed it on being too tired to get up early with Joe, and then in the evenings I am too busy helping Diane with the girls. But the truth is that somehow, some way, fear had crept back in and was keeping me at home. Or maybe it was apathy. Or a mix of both. I know that there is little to fear here in Glenwood, especially in recent months as the streets have been cleaned up more and more. But maybe my fear has been the fear of being bothered. The fear of being stopped and talked to. The fear of seeing more needs that I just can’t meet. The fear of a new crop of neighbors and hanger-out-ers that I don’t know very well. And so I would rather stay in my little controlled world.
In the past, enough folks came by my controlled world so as to make it easy for me to love those that we moved here for. But foot traffic patterns have changed, and those folks are elsewhere, and so opportunities to share the love of Christ have been fewer. I’ve been feeling this for a while, not able to put my finger on exactly what was demotivating me and not able to muster up a good motivation to get going again.
But this Sunday our pastor preached on Ephesians 3:1-14, and in the early verses of that chapter, Paul talks about the administration of God’s grace given to him for the sake of the Gentiles. I had always thought this meant that God had administered grace to Paul for the sake of the Gentiles (and theologically that is true). But in the Greek, that particular instance of administer means “to be a manager of.” Paul is saying that he is a manager of grace from God, given the task of passing it on and utilizing it to bless others. Our pastor exhorted us, from a position of the Good News and our identity in Christ as motivation, to be good managers of the grace God has given us. And I realized that in many ways I was squirreling away the grace and time and opportunity of being here in Glenwood.
As I walked through the park tonight, there were a number of kids there and some middle school-ers (an intimidating age group in any neighborhood), and I thought, “God has given me grace to manage here. I have grace and gifts that are meant for these kids, for their families.” And the thought carried no guilt. It carried hope and purpose, and felt as thought it were leading me on that walk.
I want to be here on purpose and with purpose, and I need prayer and encouragement to walk the streets with Joe (our boxer) again, remembering that I am a manager of God’s grace, submitting my time and my plans to God’s desires to use me in the lives of others. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see that grace gets administered back to me from those I meet along the way.
(incidental note: this is post #100)