Living the 'Instead'

 

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Yesterday morning, I was walking alongside the sea during my early morning exercise.  I began thinking of Paul.
 
Where did he learn to make tents? Maybe at the feet of Gamaliel.  Maybe Ananias knew something about tentmaking.  Maybe he took some training from Aquila and Priscilla.  It’s possible that tentmaking was the trade he learned as a boy, which was essential for every Hebrew young man.
 
But I doubt he grew up with a dream to build a flourishing tentmaking business.  As a young man, in fact, he was given the best education to prepare him to be a priest, or the finest of Pharisees.  He was supposed to become the elite among his Jewish countrymen.  A highly credentialed Hebrew!
 
But his life turned upside down, and whatever big dreams he had. . . .  Well, he found himself making tents for Gentiles.  Making tents?  Among Gentiles?  What a waste of a good Hebrew education!
 
I can identify with him. 
 
I’m a trained professional.  A physician.  I’ve invested years of my life in education, internship, residency.  I've imagined myself as a successful family physician, a psychiatrist, or even a respected surgeon.  And now, here I am like Paul, surrounded by a culture far from my home, almost out of reach of my dream.
 
Instead I teach English to simple folk wanting to better their lives.
 
In yesterday's early morning mist, I walked along the coastline on my way to class.  That morning the fishermen were slowly gathering to begin their long day’s work.  It’s subsistence living, just to put food on the table, to survive. 
 
I hear God’s voice. “You’re not ‘just’ a language teacher, son.  You're not 'just' working at a job to put food on your table, trying to survive. When you’re teaching English, studying Arabic, working out at the gym, or walking the streets, you’re there so you can fish for people who need Me. Whatever you’ve ever learned, wherever I’ve put you, it has all been so you can touch lost souls and bring My love to them.  --FV
 

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