November 18, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Why Are You Here?”

Mark 10:28-31 (NET Bible)

Peter began to speak to him, “Look, we have left everything to follow you!” 29 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30 who will not receive in this age a hundred times as much—homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fields, all with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

I met a sister at an AMI conference who said, “Oh this makes sense! When I read your quiet times, I always wondered what kind of Asian last name is King.” Now that pictures are attached to these posts, you’ve probably figured out I’m not Asian. I’m Black. I’ve been asked to reflect on my unique time as a Black person on staff in AMI. The topic is too big for this platform, but as I thought about what to share one phrase came to mind: “Why are you here?”

I came to AMI ten years ago and have been on staff for eight, serving in three churches and staffing two church plants. In all of those spaces, I was regularly asked, “Why are you here?” usually in the form of, “Why do you come to our church?” or “What led you to AMI?” I used to hate these questions! They made me feel like I didn’t belong. And sometimes they felt absurd because people who had been in AMI for all of five minutes, who had just stumbled into a church that I HELPED PLANT were asking ME why I went to THEIR church! (I wanted to say, “Why do YOU go to MY church!?”)

We don’t have time for a lesson on how to welcome people who are different (I could write the book!) and I deeply understand that religious spaces are sacred in a unique way for minoritized groups in America. Those are important conversations for another day. But I will say that I no longer hate the question because it gives me an opportunity to testify!

Practically speaking, I came to AMI because there was an AMI church walking distance from my dorm at a time when I was searching for God. I was so caught up in my wresting with the Lord, it took me a while to realize that the people there didn’t look like me (and even longer to care). When I joined AMI staff, it was because my pastor, whom I deeply trusted, invited me to… AND God said do it, so I did.   

God calls each of us to a life of obedience and sacrifice that often looks very strange. My journey is one that led me away from a career I wanted since I was 7, a huge family I love dearly, and a lifestyle I worked hard to make possible to a network that’s iffy about the ordination of women, a struggle for friendships with people who look nothing like me, and don’t get me started on the limitations of a preacher’s salary. But through it all I’ve been given a family that transcends anything this world could create. During my time in AMI, I’ve never been denied an opportunity to exercise my gifts, I rarely gone without treasured and life-giving relationships, and I’ve seen God’s provision in the amazing ways.

Yes, my story is unique, but it really shouldn’t be. God calls all of us to strange lives of obedience and sacrifice. And if our lives aren’t prompting others to ask, “Why are you here?” then we are missing out on an opportunity to experience God’s promises and tell God’s story.

Prayer: Sovereign God, You call me into a beautiful relationship with You and a peculiar life for Your glory. Help me to discern the reason why I am where I am today. Open my eyes to see the places and people to whom You are drawing me and help me to be present in those spaces even when it seems I don’t belong. Help me to obey Your call to lose my life in order to save it. May I be a living testimony of the truth of Your promise to supply my every need according to Your glorious riches. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 19

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