This is my first official newsletter after being on campus for the first half of the semester. There is a lot of nervousness and worry that comes with switching campuses. What will the students be like? Will they want to meet with me? Will the campus be easy to find my way around? What will working with a staff of two be like? These were questions that were going through my head all summer waiting for the semester to start.
The Sunday before classes started (so right after my last newsletter sent) our pastor at First Pres preached on Luke 9:37-62 focusing on what following Jesus looks like. He talked about how it will take us to uncomfortable places we probably do not want to go. We see this in Jesus’ interactions with the three people in vs. 57-62.
"As they were going along the road, someone said to him “I will follow you wherever you go.” and Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said “Follow me.” But he said “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
These interactions seem really harsh at first glance; these people are dealing with real and legitimate things that Jesus asks them to set aside to follow him. Following Jesus means sacrificially setting aside our routines and rhythms for new ones that lead us into unknown places. As I was about to head out to campus the next day, this was such a timely and encouraging reminder. I may not exactly know what working at a new campus is going to be like or what my days will look like but Jesus is inviting me to follow Him into these new spaces.
And what does following Jesus look like? As my pastor reminded us, it looks like being intentional and present in the spaces you inhabit. Praying that Jesus will give you his eyes and heart for the people around you. Praying at the beginning of the day “Lord show me someone who needs the Gospel” and at the end of the day “Lord show me who I missed that needs the Gospel.” I believe that God will always hear and answer these prayers!
This semester I have tried to remember this everyday as I head to campus no matter if I’m meeting with multiple girls or going to Large Group or sitting in the commons to be present. Praying “Ok God I am going to campus today. Who needs to be shown your love and kindness? Give me eyes for them!” And then at the end of the day reflecting “God who did I miss today? When did my insecurities and worries get in the way of Gospel conversations?”
Practically what does being intentionally present on campus look like? A few things I have found:
Walking into the on-campus gym without my airpods in. This has given me the opportunity to talk to the students who work the front desk and other students I pass in the gym.
Finding the places on campus that students gather at and hanging out there between meetings.
Everytime I go to the cafeteria doing a loop and talking to the students I know and meeting their friends they are eating with.
God has called all of us to follow Him sacrificially, no matter our job or calling. I want to encourage everyone reading this to think about the places God has sent you. Who are you around that needs to be shown the love of the Lord? Think and pray about it and watch Jesus show up in those places.