I might not describe myself as a grateful person. Of course I am thankful for my spouse, the house I live in, and all that stuff. But there are not many times in my life that I can say that I felt a profound “God-style” sense of gratitude.
Until recently, when I met Ryan.
To be clear… I haven’t actually “met” Ryan, but I have talked with him on the phone and had a few brief email conversations with him. You might ask how I could feel this thankful for someone I barely know – and to answer that question I have to tell you about my job, and how one simple introduction could fill me with such deep gratitude.
I have been given the honor of creating a new program for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): the Special Offerings Leader Support Network (SOLSN). Participants in this program, called Ambassadors, are tasked with sharing stories of the mission work of the Presbyterian Church, energizing the church around the incredible work of the four PC(USA) Special Offerings. One of the most exciting aspects of my job is recruiting people to be part of the program. However, if you have attempted to solicit help from people or recruit people to your cause, you may know that not every single email is replied to, and some phone calls may not be returned. During times of less-than-hoped-for communication, it is easy to become disheartened. But then, someone will request more information or apply to be part of the program, and my heart fills with joy (there might also be a celebratory dance involved).
Back to Ryan. He accepted the invitation to join the Ambassador program in the midst of a particularly disheartening day, causing me to leap for joy and immediately share the good news with my team. It was at that moment that I felt so deeply grateful. That moment for me was a glimpse into God’s provision and abundance in this world, in this church and in my life. His excitement for the program is contagious. Every time I email him, he responds with energy, with passion and joy.
I recently asked Ryan why he wanted to be an Ambassador. He said,
“The true reason that draws me to the Ambassador program is none other than the Holy Spirit. When I received an e-mail from a friend telling me about the program, I instantly felt called. I knew nothing about the program at that moment, but God was already working. (That’s what I love about God – he is always working). After learning more about the program and the four offerings that are assisted by the work of the Ambassador, I realize that it truly was the Holy Spirit calling me to this work. To be able to work towards a greater cause to help brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe in need is truly the great commission of Jesus Christ.”
I am grateful for people who fill me with this hope. In response to this gratitude, I find the joy and energy to send out more emails, to make more phone calls and to withstand more unanswered communication.
I feel honored to represent this exciting new program. But above all, I am so grateful that I am joined by faithful, energetic Presbyterians like Ryan.
Will you join us?