So the vision for Concordia Campus Ministries is connecting with God’s Word in the world. Great and catchy phrase. However, even before school began I was ignoring it. Instead I was connecting with my planning and task lists. One more call to make, meal host to find, student to contact. Then there were the rooms to clean, posters to make, and website to set up. And each day the list grew. This was my connection to ministry. Once I completed it, then I could get to the God thing.
As I waited to get responses from e-mails I became quite tense. Don’t they, doesn’t God know that I need this response to effectively plan. In reality much of this work related to my my looking good in ministry, having success, being ready. But what about God? Two weeks ago as I was worrying about not getting responses back from some students, a visiting scholar I hadn’t seen for months walked in with a couple new to the area. I wasn’t ready. But God was. I almost didn’t know what to do because my mind was so focused on all this other work. However, I sat down and talked with them – and again realized that the priorities I actually focus on often leave out true connections with God.
I just finished reading Hunter’s Horn by Harriet Arnow. In this story set in eastern Kentucky during the 1940s, a man focuses so much on catching a fox – the King Devil – that he loses sight of other priorities. His daughter has only a ragged dress to wear and he has no money to send her to high school. He sells the family’s meat one winter so he could purchase pedigreed hounds. I want to yell at this character, pointing out his narrow vision. Yet, I quickly see how I can get caught in a similar hunt.
At times I am chasing after accolades in ministry – praise from others and numbers at events. I wonder what people will think and how they will respond. As I do this I become blinded to opportunities where God is at work. Looking back all I can do now is ask for forgiveness and repent. Turn and look to God. Perhaps these failings – and subsequent turnings – are the real connection with God’s Word. The real thing I can share with students. Seeing my worthlessness and turning to the one who is worthy.