“Hello, my name is Darrell and I am calling with BR Interviewing…” It is this phrase I uttered thousands of times in the last two and a half months. I had placed my life on hold for the possibility of God placing me in a lead pastoral role. Seems, He was not ready to move me just yet. With most of my savings fading away, I looked for a temporary job
until He decided to place me. I found one working at the local convention center, but the hours were scarce. Then I was hired by a company that makes outbound calls. It is not sales but that does not make the job itself any easier. You push a button, the computer dials a number and you wait to either hear someone yell, listen and hang up, listen or a voicemail pick up. There are a variety of surveys they do here, and I will not go into specifics, but needless to say, it is not a job one dreams of when they are a child! There are a couple of life lessons I have learned while I was there.
First off, we all are in a place – literally or figuratively – for a season. We learn in scripture there are specific seasons in which God works. This is not said to say He is limited in certain times, but that we are limited in our ability to learn at certain times. I think back to the pastors I have served under. There was one that allowed me to first walk into a board room to present an idea and start working in ministry. There was another that introduced me into service on the church board and further leadership roles within ministry. Then there was one that motivated me into taking that final step into full submission. Sure, I took the step, but I was not in a place spiritually or mentally to do so under the first pastor I served under. The season I had in this small call center was to position me into obedience and to strengthen my patience. Anyone who works in this center knows it takes a great deal of patience to “smile and dial!” This season was to position me into sharpening the skill of turning my other cheek. Not only is it a challenge to hear many “colorful” adjectives, but also to work in an environment where my faith is not always accepted. I do not hide who I am or what I am called to do. There are many that do not agree, and they have valid reasons as well.
What are those reasons? That is almost a perfect segway into the second point! God always has a reason for where He has us. Maybe the reason God placed me in this employment was to hear some of the reasons many do not agree with my faith. Many see my faith as what abandoned them in their time of need. Some blame God for allowing the overbearing circumstances of life that pressure them into a corner. While there are great retorts I can go into and defenses of my faith I can state; it may not be accepted. What is important is the reasoning behind the beliefs. It is that reasoning that has built the foundation to their truth. John 13:7, Jesus tells the disciples they may not understand what He was doing but assures them they will later. It was the same for me. I did not understand why God didn’t just place me in the church He wanted to earlier. I did not understand why God had me in this small call center. I remember Him telling me in one of my many devotions to shut up and listen. He wasn’t telling me to listen to Him, but to those I worked with. Listen to those single parents that have a mountain to climb daily. To those that have received multiple cut off notices for electricity and water. Those that may not have an option to work anywhere else for whatever reason. Those that the only communication with the world around them is at work. I had to listen to those that struggle with demons that poke their head at them continually and there seems to be no hope to the end of the nightmare they may be living. Yet, each of these folks smile and dial. They come in daily, hoping to temporarily forget the life battles they left at the door.
Finally, I learned that everyone loves to laugh, wants to be loved and desires to matter in life. Those that know me, know I love to laugh, joke and goof around and may even do it when I shouldn’t! To me, I could care less if people were laughing at me, just as long as they laughed. I hope I showed them that us Christians can laugh and have a good time. We are not like all those that cast judgment on them as soon as they enter the room. I know I showed I can get frustrated and angry, but I pray the laughter outweighs those circumstances. I was privileged to witness a mother receive custody of her child and saw how her face glowed.
One could easily see how she loves her son and how she loves being loved by him. These folks reminded this rookie pastor how important it is to show our love. To all people in all circumstances. Jesus had a way of loving people into following Him. We all can be reminded of that from time to time.
My desire to fellow Christians is that we remember the next time we encounter that unwanted call (survey or sales), check out at a grocery store or meet anyone who is not as blessed as you are, remember there are those that who are often forgotten, overlooked and shrugged off by society. All people have been created in His image. We all desire to be loved. We all want to be desired. We all want to have hope.
To Us Christians:
I pray that we of faith are willing to step outside of our comfort zones and int a box that may have people that do not accept you. My advice is that you do not run away from it. Embrace the location, pray for those people. Regardless if they believe as you do or not. Pray for them. It may not end in their salvation (that you may observe), but it will be fruitful if you know how to look for the fruit. I remember a young woman who did not like I was a man of faith. There were some colorful adjectives when she would address me in the beginning. I also remember that hug she gave me on my last day and her sincere words “I am going to miss you, Darrell.” Her adjectives changed over time by the way. I was called “preacher man” as I would enter. I sit here and type this entry on a desk that is mostly packed up and ready for a move to the Midwest, and I smile. I smile knowing she may question my faith now instead of totally rejecting it as before. I smile knowing prayer is effective. It works in His time, in His season.
To those I had the pleasure to work with:
Thank you for sending this rookie pastor off. In the short time I got to know you all, know there is a place in my heart and daily prayers for each of you. Regardless of your beliefs, I pray you to find the hope I have. I pray you to find the Father that loves you more than any mere person can offer. I will weep for your struggles and rejoice in your success. Finally, I pray you to find and get to know the God I serve. Not only does He love you, but He also awaits your choice to have a relationship with Him. I do not believe He pulls strings and we are puppets. I do believe He loves and has sacrificed for us and desires a relationship with us since the time He created the first two.
To those at BRI, know as much as I desired to impact your lives, you have impacted mine. You reminded me that love and acceptance come from all sizes, shapes, forms, and backgrounds. Your generosity in a going-away party touched me in ways you did not get to witness. The growth I experienced will continue as I preach my first of many sermons in Indiana. I love you all and will pray continuously for you. Until next time – smile and dial – and say “helloooooo!”
If you, or anyone else for that matter, want to know more of this hope I have, contact me through this site or one of my links to the left.
1 Corithians 13:7
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”