I just love Monadnock Bible Conference. It’s one of my all-time favorite places on this earth. Okay, so Hawaii is pretty good, too. Oh – and Disney World. I love Disney World. But Monadnock is HOME. Every time I go there I feel like I’m coming home again. Brian and I first went there as teens for various youth events, and the special place that it holds in our hearts grows with each passing year. Our children started going to Monadnock once they hit their teen years, and they, too, have formed an attachment to Monadnock, similar to the one we formed over twenty years ago. The magnetic draw is almost inexplicable. Sure, the people are great. Sure, the food is incredible. But I think the real thing that sets it apart is the sweet Spirit of the Lord that just permeates the place. You know how some places just have a miasma of darkness over them? Well, think of Monadnock as the anti-darkness. It’s a beautiful thing.
This past year we began volunteering at Monadnock on a regular basis. I’ve been on the worship team for their women’s events several times, and Colby has volunteered with our church youth group a few times, but it was a whole new experience to volunteer together as a family. This past weekend was one of those volunteer weekends. We got to volunteer in the kitchen, and let me tell you what a fabulous time it was! We worked hard and played hard and scrubbed our hands raw and all the while we felt this sweet happiness. Something rang true about it … like “Aha! This is one of the things we were created for! To serve people and serve the Lord through these things that we are doing. And there’s this crazy joy that fills my heart while I’m doing it …” It made me look at service in a different way.
We know that God calls us to service. That’s clear in His Word. You might be part of the proverbial 20% that does 80% of the work or you might be part of the 80% who has a bunch of reasons why service wouldn’t fit into your life and you figure that surely God’s call to service doesn’t apply to you. Well, I’m talking to both groups.
20% people: Don’t grow weary, friends! God has called you to His service and He has something lovely in mind!
80% people: You’re missing out on something really cool! Come and join the party!
Yes, service is sacrifice. It is hard work and inconvenient and it messes with our schedules and our wallets. We get tired and sometimes we feel unappreciated. But I think that God didn’t just call us to service for our “good” and to “grow” us. (Oh, I get so tired of that perception of God, as if He’s a spoon-wielding meany shoving cod liver oil down our throats “for our good.”) Although growth and stretching are surely part of His plan, I think that God has called us to service for our JOY! It’s another touch-point to imitate Christ and become closer to Him. (Read John 13 for what Jesus has to say on this topic.)
And with that new perspective, we served with great joy! Let me tell you, it’s an amazing thing to see a teenage boy scrubbing pots and pans with joy. 🙂 We’re home now, but it hasn’t ended there … suddenly, making a bed is a service of joy. Cooking a meal for my family is a service of joy. Praying for a friend is a service of joy. It’s changing my perspective and how I’m responding to things. Furthermore, I am praying that this little kernel I’ve learned will stay with me and be one more baby step as I endeavor to become more like Christ.
This August we’ll be volunteering for a whole week during the teens’ summer camp. Now THAT is going to be wild. 🙂 Say a prayer for us, would ya? And I’ll be sure to give you an update when we get back.
When [Jesus] had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.