Two things I have never done before in my life – participate in a service mission trip in a foreign country, and post anything on a blog. Today I am doing both simultaneously…
I read a definition this morning – “Availability is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others.” Clearly, all of us on the New Heights Serving Slovakia team are demonstrating the character trait of availability just by being here in Martin. Team members have set aside jobs, family, home life, and comfortable daily routines to spend two weeks here helping to meet the needs of staff and students at the Center for Christian Education. God called us to this work, and each of us said, “I’m available.”
As a rookie on the Serving Slovakia team, I didn’t come to Martin with my own schedule, agenda, and plans. I came with an assignment that was given to me – connect and interact with a group of high school students by tracking with them through a series of fun and interesting workshops over a period of four days. Easy! As a long-time high school teacher, I am quite comfortable hanging out with high school students. I was looking forward to it, and was ready to meet my group on Monday morning. But instead, God asked me, “Are you available?”
Early on Monday morning one of my room mates asked, “can anyone cover my workshops for me today?” My first response was “no, thank you.” I didn’t think he was serious. I’m accustomed to hearing my colleagues facetiously ask, “does anyone want to teach my 5th period (insert class name here) today?” It didn’t take long to realize, though, that my roommate was serious. He wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t sure he would be physically able to lead his workshops that day. The question that was being asked was, “Are you available?” Whether or not I wanted to change my plans that weren’t really mine anyway, I knew that God had a new agenda for me for my first Monday in Slovakia. So I went to my roommate and expressed my willingness to stand in his place for the day. After all, this wouldn’t be the first time I have had to spend ninety-minute segments of time in a room full of high schoolers when I’ve had no earthly idea what I was doing!
“Availability is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others.” Notice that this definition says nothing about being comfortable, or liking what God is asking us to do. It just says, “…being willing…” On Monday morning it took me longer than it should have to answer yes to the “Are you Available?” question. But eventually I got it right. As it happens, my roommate was able to lead his Monday workshops, but I stayed with him anyway just to be on the safe side. What a blessing it turned out to be. I got to spend the day watching high school kids laugh themselves silly as they played a variety of goofy PE games. I even jumped in and played a few silly games right along with them. It was a truly joyful experience. And I would have missed it if I had decided not to be available. By Tuesday morning my room mate was back to full strength and I was able to catch up with my group of students and stay with them the rest of the week. That, too, has been a joyful experience.
Is there something God is calling you to do or someplace He is calling you to serve? If so, are you available? Sometimes we truly aren’t available, and that’s OK. But if we can say yes we will bless somebody and, more than likely, be equally blessed ourselves.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom should I send? Who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8