But I’m Too Busy, What Do You Want Me to DoAllan Basajjasubi
As a Christ follower the call to use my life as an opportunity to display the amazing love of God to those less fortunate, has always been a desire of mine to pursue. Whilst that desire has always stayed with me throughout the different seasons of my life, the manner in which that desire has been expressed and explored has looked different throughout the different seasons I have been in. As Christ followers I believe we have been fundamentally called to love God, and to love the people we come into contact with on a daily basis. It is not a coincidence that God created us, his image bearers, to live amongst people with different backgrounds, different stories and different perspectives to our own. These differences present various organic opportunities to step out of our own lives for a moment, and to step into the lives of others in order to understand their needs, so as to best meet those needs as our way of bringing the reality of the Kingdom of God to them. Whilst this is great in theory, life and its seasons can frustrate the desire and willingness to serve.
In whatever season of life we find ourselves in, there remains various opportunities for us to leverage our time, resources, networks, gifts and passions to pursue ways of improving the lives of others. In my experience, my capacity to serve has often looked different in the different seasons that I have gone through. During my busiest season in which I worked a nine to five, not much time was left for me to meaningfully explore how best to pursue this desire. I often resorted to utilising my existing outreach commitments as opportunities to pursue my desire to serve, and these included my contact time with kids at kids’ church, midweek outreach activities in the area I live, and serving through my local church when available. During my least busy season in which I was in between permanent employment, a lot more time was freed up for me to consider new and creative ways to explore my desire to serve. These included me volunteering to join a mentoring programme called SAY YES, which primarily focuses on connecting underprivileged youths with employed mentors with the intention of bringing about social change in the youth through intervention strategies. This programme happens over a nine-month period in which a mentor relationship is nurtured and cared for, so as to build social capital with the mentee and inspire transformation of perspectives, ideas and beliefs in order to improve the decisions of the youth mentees.
Another example I can refer to are the opportunities that arose during my encounters and conversations with less privileged individuals that would continuously ring my door bell enquiring about food and clothing. As opposed to just giving them items as requested, I often considered engaging with them in their stories, in order to best understand how I could assist further. This was after realising that there must be a better way of serving individuals who frequently enquire about food and clothing. These meetings created the perfect opportunities for conversations to occur. It was during these conversations that opportunities arose for me to ask questions. During these conversations I received a deeper understanding of their circumstances, an understanding that would encourage an organic opportunity to best serve their needs. These different seasons have all provided opportunities for organic volunteering which has in my life required me to actively identify what I can offer whilst in this season that best assists people in their everyday life thereby glorifying the Kingdom of God within the spaces and seasons that he has gifted me.
When I actively sought to identify what, in my current season, I can use to assist people in their everyday life, I noticed that making myself accessible and available to serve whoever I came in contact with (with either my time, my networks, my gifts and talents and passions), would glorify God and his calling over my life and glorify his Kingdom. From my experience, making yourself available may look like engaging meaningfully with the people you frequently come in contact with, through asking questions and showing interest in the stories that they may share of their circumstances. In doing so, opportunities may arise for you to consider how best to serve in a manner that is appropriate to that person’s circumstances. Making yourself available may also look like preparing a home cooked meal and delivering that meal to those who have no means to provide for themselves, regardless of their circumstances. Lastly, making yourself available may look like providing company or lending and ear or a shoulder to those who are in need of prayer or encouragement. By providing your presence, you provide access to your wisdom, generosity, networks, vulnerability, kindness, intercessory gifts etc. These all enable the establishment of a level of intimacy that encourages organic service.
The fundamental lesson I have learned is that God has placed us in specific circumstances which present their own unique moments, in which we have the opportunity to make ourselves available and accessible to pursuing our callings as a way of displaying the amazing love of God to those less fortunate. In so doing we aim to glorifying him by expressing the Kingdom of God as a reality.