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Jason Keagy, Ridgeway, WI
I am blessed. I have always felt a strong sense of guidance and direction from God. Throughout my life, decisions large and small are surrounded by an abundantly clear first step and I am so thankful for the confidence this provides. Although clear on the first step, rarely am I granted insight to the impact they will have or the sacrifices they will require. This is a challenge for me, but God generously transforms my relationship with Him accordingly.
My wife Mayme and I saw a documentary on PBS following two refugee family's resettlement in the United States. The film often came to mind and I never forgot it. Two years later, our Life Group was evaluating our effectiveness in serving our community while building long-term relationships. I found the documentary and ordered a copy for our group to watch together and then went online and found Lutheran Social Service's Resettlement Program. On a Friday afternoon I made the call.
"It's really interesting you called. There's a new population from Bhutan arriving and we'd like to assign them to Madison. We meet on Monday to see what's possible."
It seemed clear that God had something in mind and was opening the door for us to enter. Together we learned what it meant to be a sponsor and our entire group jumped at the opportunity. God used that first step to prompt our Life Group, who inspired a congregation, who played a part in encouraging a faith community in Madison. As a result, almost two years later, the impacted lives of our new Bhutanese friends, is second only to the blessing of transformation in our own lives.
An amazing illustration of God's love was created. As we worked behind the scenes to protect and advocate for our sometimes vulnerable friends, I grew in appreciation for God's protection and provision in my own life. The Bhutanese community taught us to value family and time together and I then understood God's desire for my values and priorities to change. My heart swelled experiencing generosity from those who had so little to give, providing a glimpse into God's response to my own willingness to give. The joy I experienced in being one of many ambassadors sharing the gospel gave clarity to God's amazing salvation plan and ultimately provided the gift of witnessing a seed of faith lead to baptism and new life in Jesus Christ.
This journey as taught me much. My personality rests comfortably within certain confines, and outside of God's initiative, remains consistent and predictable. However, as God directs my steps into His Kingdom work, consistently it draws me into community rather than solitude, risk-taking rather than safety. It requires unshackled response and raw emotion when I grasp for restraint. I'm assigned to the type of leadership I prefer to follow and my small world opens wider with each new assignment.
Over time, I am more accustomed to this partnership, this dance, this way of life, this blessing. While only capable of the first step, I've learned the joy in looking backwards to give me confidence to move ahead. God's word and his community of faith provide support, guidance and courage. As God leads, the exceptions in my life slowly become the rule. My personality is molded to match my gifts rather than my gifts being held hostage by my personality.
I've heard sermons and small groups wrestle with the sacrifice of God's call. Often, a challenging message is tempered at some point with a qualifying statement. God doesn't really expect me to quit my job, sell my possessions, spend all day reading His Word and serving others and become someone I'm not. Would He be disappointed if I did just that? Is that really a sacrifice?
To you I give my life, not just the parts I want to.
To you I sacrifice these dreams that I hold on to.
To you I give the gifts, Your love has given me.
How can I hoard the treasures that you've designed for free?
Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice…Here's my life.
"No Sacrifice" by Jason Upton
May God continue to draw us out from who we think we are, to who He needs us to be for His glory!
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