Generosity – a sign of His work in you

FLIGHTPATH Pursuing your passion in a context that is of disadvantage for your, i.e. in a setting that is culturally diverse, can clearly expose your heart showing you your idolatry, but also demonstrating His work in you. One particular fruit of that work would be your desire to give generously and freely to others. 

Passion: Teaching * Service audience: Kids, 5 to 12 year old * Fuel Element: Cultural diversity * Type: R&D


 

Well, here we are on the other side of Spring Break and Holy Week. They were two very busy, demanding but productive weeks. For the first time we hosted Camp Leonardo – Spring Break, and we were almost to capacity! Kids had a blast and, judging by their comments, I know the parents were also blessed. But there is very little time to rest, now… the end of the school year is around the corner and we must get ready for the two weeks of Camp Leonardo – Summer.

What gets me really excited is the opportunity to pursue one of my passions, teaching math & science, in a way that stimulates my creativity and may help me to improve, as a teacher. For the longest I have had the desire to teach these topics using a minimal amount of teaching material. At one point I thought about using nothing but balsa wood, rubber bands, glue and paper to present the basic principles of our areas of study. Well, this year I do get to do something like that! I will be teaching aerodynamics and board game design, with an investment in teaching material of less than $80.00 for twenty students for two weeks.

What’s scary about it is the fact that I will be teaching from a point of disadvantage. I am going to be pursuing my passion for teaching in a setting that, culturally speaking, is not my preference. Language will be an issue. Values will be different. And an appreciation, a real and deep appreciation for all my labor may not take place.

 

I will be teaching kids, 5 to 11 years of age.

 

 

You may be wondering the why behind my desire to subject my self to such a demanding environment. The truth is that serving others from a point of disadvantage is very helpful for your own Spiritual Transformation. When you engage in disciple-making in a culturally diverse setting, that setting will clearly expose what is in your own heart. You may be the only one that sees that reality, but it is extremely important that you see it. And there, in your heart, you will see your own idolatry, you will see those cultural preferences you hold in very high steem… somethings higher than the Good News of salvation that Jesus Christ, God the Son, freely offers to everyone.

 

In other words, serving in cultural diversity will give you opportunities to repent and confess.

 

But it will also show you, clearly, the work He has done in you.

 

Cultural diversity, then, will provide you with reasons to celebrate!

 

A clear piece of evidence of His work in you is your desire to give to others in a generous way, even when gratitude from your service audience is not guarantied… at least not exactly in the amount you – humanly speaking – believe you deserve.

 

I want to teach the best class possible about physics and mathematics. I welcome the challenge of teaching these topics using very little material. My creativity engine is in over-drive, already! But all this may be coming from my own passion, giftedness, areas of interest. But pursuing excellency in teaching in an cultural setting that is not mine, having the desire to give freely and generously because I know I have received freely and generously from the Triune God of Scripture, that is a sign of His work in me.

 

CALL TO ACTION Next time you serve others through the pursuit of your passion, be sure that you do it from a point of disadvantage. Be sure, also, to celebrate His work in you. Don’t forget to share.

 

Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity.

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Failure – part of our discipleship path

FLIGHTPATH

What do you do when you have a strong desire to pursue your passion and  bless your service audience but, after presenting to them your proposal, they do not respond in the way you were expecting? Well, then you can do two things: learn about your real spiritual condition, and witness Him transforming you. After all, in this life we are never done with our Spiritual Transformation. We have to cultivate and be cultivated constantly, and failure is a very good tool for that..

 

 


Passion: Teaching chess * Service Audience: Parents of elementary school students * Fuel Element: The Process (Cultivate constantly) * Type: R&D


 

At the beginning of the year I sensed God was directing me to revive one of the ways we used to serve our community, when we first moved here: teaching chess to elementary school students. A while back we even had a chess club, official member of the US Chess Federation. Back in 2016 I decided that I would not be pursuing this passion of mine (teaching chess to kids), but instead I would try to focus on serving adults, pursuing my passion for coaching and mentoring.

 

But with God again bringing teaching chess to my attention, I decided to follow His guidance and give it another try. This time, besides using the usual means to advertise our club, I ran a Facebook ad campaign and connected with two social organizations who are already serving our community.

 

And it worked!

 

After six days of running this campaign, I had 12 parents saying they were interested in chess lessons for their kids.

 

To me, that was a clear indication that God was in this .

 

When I asked the parents to come to an information meeting – the first requirement to register their kids in our club – only four of them said they would come. The day of the meeting there was no one there but my wife and I.

 

From 12 to 4 to 0.

 

What happened? This time things were going very well: I had the first 12 lessons planned, I was using new ways to communicate more effectively with parents, and the overall quality level and formality were higher than in previous instances of The Gwinnett Chess Co.

 

Why did it fail, then?

 

And more importantly, at least for me, was the question of what to do next.

 

Serving people in a setting that is culturally diverse is like this; results like this are very common (the norm?) when we are trying to make disciples among the nations. And it is in this context that we must be very careful in the way we respond. We don’t want to throw the towel, believing that cultural differences are insurmountable – the Good News are still powerful! At the same time, we do not want to be stubborn and, without considering the response, continue blindly with our original plan.

 

If we remember that we need to be constantly cultivated to follow Christ in humility, if we remember that God the Holy Spirit must work in us persistently in the restoration of our heart, if we remember that we will never reach a finish line – not on this life – in our own discipleship path, then we will understand that failure could be used by Him as He makes us more and more like Jesus our Lord.

 

How?

 

He can use failure to:

  1. Show us what is really in our heart. The way we react to things not going the way we want them can point us to our own idols and desires.
  2. SHow us His work in us. After the disappointment, if we still want to pursue our passion for His glory and the benefit of others, if we still have a desire to see Him changing human hearts through us, then we are witnessing Him transforming us.

 

Don’t be discouraged for too long. Ask Him to expose your idolatry and then, with Him working in you and through you, press on.

 

 

Call to Action

Consider your last failure to bless others and honor Him. What did you learn about you and about Him through that experience? Share!

 

Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity.

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