September 29, 2007

Our True Calling

Last night began the InScribe Fall Conference. We’d planned a keynote from our speaker, Angela Hunt, then a book launch, then evening readings. When things started going contrary to plan, most of us expressed, “It’s going to be a great conference.”

Angela’s flight from Florida was initially supposed to arrive early afternoon. She didn’t get here until 7:30 p.m. We rearranged our schedule, and instead of speaking at 7:00, she came to the podium closer to 9:00.

This dear woman had been up since at least 3:00 a.m. Florida time to be at the airport down there at 4:00. She had been rerouted through several stopovers, and yet delivered an incredible and lively keynote — in her pyjamas! I think everyone here instantly loved her. As I read from my devotional guide this morning, I thought of several reasons why.

Matthew 3 relates how John the Baptist came preaching about Jesus. He wasn’t wearing normal garb and didn’t act like people expected a messenger from God might act. He spoke truth, which must have been rare in those days because people came from all over the place to hear him and to confess their sins and be baptized (not a baptism of belief in Jesus Christ but of repentance). The religious leaders came too, more out of curiosity perhaps, but he scolded them and told them their reliance on someone else’s faith didn’t cut it. They had to repent like everyone else. Then he said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Angela wasn’t concerned that her clothes and her ‘style’ made a big impression. Instead she talked about Jesus and spoke truth. She said things that run contrary to popular ideas concerning writing as a ‘calling’ and set at least me free from the idea that I have to prioritize time at my keyboard if I am going to be a ‘real’ writer. She talked about our first and only calling is to love and obey God, no matter what task we are at. While she didn’t directly scold those who put the writing profession over everything else in their life, her words certainly called for a change of heart if that were the case.

She also demonstrated what it means to be immersed in the Holy Spirit. God used her words, even her entire person. She was entirely exhausted from a nearly 20-hour day and the craziness of airline mishaps, but is also under a deadline from her publisher for a book she is writing; the deadline is next week. There was nothing of Angela left to give, but give she did, with Holy Spirit fire.

The plane delay meant that at least one person had to leave early, but a few others arrived in time to hear her. God is in charge of this shuffle and knows how to put things in place to suit His will.

All I can say is that I am glad that I could be there, see the fire, and hear God speak through one person who realizes that her true calling is simply to love Him and do what He says.

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