I started in retail at the age of 15, working in department stores. It was my go-to job all through college as well, during summer and winter vacations, and even an Easter stint or two.
When I graduated with a BABL degree (seriously, a bachelor of arts in biblical literature—BABL) with an emphasis in Christian education, there was nowhere local to get a job. Churches in the Northeast/Midatlantic weren’t hiring female youth or Christian ed directors back in the . . . well, the day. And as a newly engaged woman, I had no intention of moving far from my beloved. So I fell back into retail, where I remained for 15 years.
I loved retail and excelled in it. However, most of my early reviews had a similar comment in the “needs improvement” section: “Carol seems to view customers as an interruption to her work rather than as the point of her work.” It was true. I was (still am) so task focused that once I delved into a project, I didn’t want to stop to wait on a customer. I’d forgotten my purpose in being there.
Yeah, still not so good.
Amos Yong said in the same session that advent of the church (in Acts 2, but also in our own lives) is to be an interruption of our status quo, our way of life, our finances for the reorganization of communities—a community where hearts are redirected toward the anticipated reign of God’s kingdom and focused on mission.
How does God want to interrupt my life, my status quo, to focus on mission?
I talked today to two people who just returned from a mission trip to an Indian reservation. You could tell they were still processing the trip and what they had seen and trying to sort out how it was going to change their lives. They seemed to recognize that their way of life would not revert to what it had been before the trip. Or at least, they didn’t want it to. God had stepped in and interrupted their normal.
Cherith Fee-Nordling, again at Missio Alliance, said, “Get up every day and ask, ‘What is the will of the Father?'” God’s will is likely to feel like interruptions to my agenda. I need to be willing to see things as he sees them and join him in what he is doing. Interruptions may be his divine appointments.
Will I open my eyes, stand with God and embrace the opportunities that come as interruptions? Will I live for his kingdom, to make a difference in the lives of people, here, now, as they interrupt my life? I want to want to. But it is an every day, maybe every hour or moment, decision for me. “Not my will but yours be done” and “I want to see your kingdom come.”
I’m afraid if God were providing my annual reviews they might still contain the sentiment that “Carol seems to view people as an interruption to her work rather than as the point of her work.”
What about you? Are people the point of your life or an interruption?