I always thought I would marry a man who has a heart for the same people group as I do–immigrants, refugees, abuelitas. That we would go traipsing off to Guatemala or Mexico or inner-city somewhere to “really make a difference” for the marginalized.
Today at church the pastor called us to serve, to be ministers, to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven, RIGHT WHERE WE ARE.
Even if we’re not where we want to be. Even if we’re not in our dream job or ideal living situation or working with our “target population” just yet.
People–the people right in front of us–matter most.
I was convicted.
You see, I’m in grad school on my way to (hopefully) landing a job where I can work with refugees. But I’m not there yet. Right now I’m working with mostly well-off international college students from countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. I’m writing lesson plans for hypothetical classes in my teacher training classes and grading hundreds of essays for students who just want to tick off a GE requirement.
In the midst of studying and paper writing and correcting grammar mistakes, I’ve lost sight that this place matters. This interim, this training ground, this place that I am currently in, matters.
And not just as a means to end. A means to transforming the lives of refugees. My time at SDSU, right now, can be a destination in itself. A place to see God work. A place to serve and grow and plant deep roots. To usher in the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.
My Kuwaiti students who talk back and the tedious hours I spend planning curriculum–ALL MATTER.
And that’s the area where my future husband blows me out of the water.
He may not be called to a particular people group or have the same international justice outlook as I do, but he is so faithful in the here and now. To the people right in front of him.
He treats everyone with respect and kindness. He’s generous to all.
As much as I theorize about poverty and social justice, he works diligently, humbly to serve those right in front of him.
Of course I still think it’s important to look outward. To be challenged. To reach beyond the comfort of our own friends and neighborhoods. To see the unseen and offer a listening ear to the unheard. To make a conscious effort to go where God is calling us, even if it’s uncomfortable. To daily ask for the scales and blinders to drop from our eyelids.
I’m that much more excited to ask these questions and to seek my/our calling with a man who daily teaches me how to be faithful in the smalls things, how to love when no one is watching, and how to live like all places–all people–matter.