Today I finish a project that I have been working on for a while now, but I’ll start at the beginning of this journey. Last fall I signed up for a volunteer position in a program that helps reduce recidivism in juvenile offenders. I came on as a mentor, and things were going great until I was called into a meeting a few months ago to hear that they made a mistake in pairing me with my mentee and no longer had a position for me as a mentor. They opened an opportunity for me to stay on the staff just to keep up with the youth, and attend the meetings. I accepted. I left the meeting a little discouraged, but since I was still able to have a relationship with staff and the ability to see the program succeed I was ok. The next day I got an email from the directors that said that a “light bulb went off” when I left and they immediately had another position that they wanted to know if I would be interested in. I met with them the next day and they asked me to write a portion of the training manual for the program. They said that they recognized that I was knowledgable in criminal justice and that they wanted to use it for the portion of why Juveniles commit the crimes that they do.
The other day while I was driving and thinking about all of the big projects that I have completed since January I realized that I have been writing from a place of influence. I’ve written a major part of a training manual, I’ve written recommendations for a police department, and recommendations for corrections. I was blown away by the opportunities to do all of these things. Then I heard “I’m placing you in a seat of honor and influence, your words are powerful.” I recognized it as scripture so I went to look it up when I got home, and I found this passage:
Luke 14:8-35 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Things I learned…
1. Do not despise low beginnings. Walk in humility.
I knew that I had a lot of knowledge on the theories of why people commit crimes. However, I went into my program just as a mentor with no ulterior motives to change positions or move up. When I was told I was no longer needed as a mentor, I could have turned down their offer to still come to staff meetings, but that may not have provided me the opportunity to write for the program. With an attitude of humility I received more than I expected, and was invited to share the knowledge that I had.
2. So often we limit our gifts to doing ONE thing, but God is so much bigger than what we THINK our gifts are for.
I’m a spoken word artist, and blogger. While I knew that my words have power outside of these tools that I use to reach people, I believed that my words only had “real” power in these two arenas. However, it is a great mistake to only think of yourself as a minister when a platform is provided to you in church. Our daily lives should minister, I believe that is what God was showing me with these opportunities to write and propose solutions. God is not limited to the gifts that you use in your local church, but he wants to use you in decision making on your jobs and in your field as well.
That’s all for now. For more on humility see my post “Small or Low” Here: https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/small-or-low/
Sidenote: I haven’t been posting due to me being busy with the above…but I’m back! 🙂