Kingdom Work in the Mundane
Kelsey Rodriguez | September 25, 2017
I remember my first one-on-one. There I was, sitting across the table from this upperclassmen whom I held only a few conversations with before, talking about my failed efforts to find a roommate for junior year. I am not really sure how the conversation jumped from "How are your classes going?" to me wincing as I confessed to her "I think it's because I tend to isolate myself and maybe that's why I don't know anyone who would want to live with me". It was in this experience that I felt heard and known. It was then that I experienced that Jesus knows exactly how I felt. I felt lonely, but He still wanted to spend time with me. He wants to redeem those parts that I was afraid of sharing.
Almost three years later, I find myself on the other side of the table. I am the one who is now asking random questions, praying that God brings something to the surface through them.
I find myself questioning "Is this making a difference?" Is the fact that a student and I just talked about her roommate's utter refusal to turn the lights out after 12 a.m. considered Kingdom Work? It does not feel like asking questions like "How's your roommate? What's your major? What do you like to do?" really matter.
Ok, I am getting to know students, but when do we get to talk about their doubts, fears, and joys? That's the stuff an intern is supposed to do right? Aren't we supposed to be the person students instantly click with and pour their heart out to? Shouldn't students think "finally someone gets me" after talking with their intern?
Wait. Did you miss that?
I almost did. It matters because I am getting to know students. God calls His sons and daughters into communion, not just with Him but with each other.
So often, it is those general questions that we learn what brings someone joy, what they're afraid of, what they are passionate about, etc.
It is in the mundane that God has chosen to do His Kingdom Work.
It matters because I am getting to know students as the image bearers they are. They were created in God's image. As humans, being fully known and loved is our most basic desire, a desire that God has written on our hearts.
Psalm 139:23: "Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts."
John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
1 Corinthians 13:12: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."
Though I will never know students fully like God knows each of His sons and daughters, God still invites me into his beautiful, life-giving work, just as He invites you to know the others in your calling.
As one longs to be fully known, there are barriers that must be overcome. Yet to our dismay, there are barriers that get in the way of being fully known. We have been sold the lie that vulnerability is weakness, rather than courage. We perceive vulnerability to be the source of shame, rejection, and fear. Instead of it as the source of connection. This is probably the most frequent quote of C.S Lewis of all time, because it rings truth. Lewis points to vulnerability as a gateway for connection "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
If we want to know someone down to the core we have to pull back the layers one by one. It often takes one's lifetime to really know someone. It is done by doing life together so that their quirks, as well as their struggles, begin to reveal themselves.
And that takes time, it takes investing, it takes sharing on our part, and even (yea) it sometimes takes the mundane. But this is Kingdom Work. Paul puts it best in 1 Thessalonains 2:8, "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us."
Kelsey is currently serving as an intern at the University of Vermont.