Our Values in Action

God’s Timing And Our Stuff

Two weeks ago I (Pastor Mark) had just closed my eyes in my bed when I received a call from my nephew in Guam. He doesn’t regularly call me, so I knew this was important. Frantic, he let me know that one of his best friends whom I met briefly years ago was a new SPU college student and had traveled from Guam to Seattle to start school. But unfortunately, he was scammed by false apartment advertisement and lost most of his money.

His friend was alone in Kent and needed a place to stay. There was no question–we needed to pick him up and help him out. I arrived around midnight to meet Sean at a closed coffee shop where he waited, giant luggage and all. To my surprise, his optimism and gratitude outweighed his circumstances. We headed back home to finally get some sleep.

Over the next few days, my wife Amy, Matt (Amy’s brother-in-law), and I got to help Sean get settled in this new, big city. There was a part of us that just wanted to be a better representation of Seattleites! Nevertheless, he had a busy to-do list and needed a new place to live, which is a stressful experience for anyone moving to a new place without having a home to actually…well, move into.

While he stayed with us, we had the privilege of serving him. I believe Amy has a wonderful gift of hospitality, and it was in full affect during the week he was with us. I, on the other hand, felt challenged by my to-do list constantly popping into my mind. Try as I might to be present and lean into the opportunity God had put before me, I couldn’t shake an increasing anxiety to prioritize “my stuff” even though I genuinely wanted to be present.

Leveraging Ordinary Moments For Extraordinary Purposes

The grace I found in my one-parts conviction mixed with two-parts self-driven guilt was the challenge of living out what I believe Christ followers are called to do–leveraging ordinary moments for extraordinary purposes. God graciously gives us opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, but it does not come on our own terms.

We have to choose our priority. We will likely feel uncomfortable in forfeiting or delaying our plans for the sake of another, and yet, in that test is the beauty of the gospel readily experienced by all who trust His timing. The late-night car ride, clinking of dinner plates, and dining room small talk with a stranger becoming family is a particular holiness in itself. It is the table valued more than life’s demands and to-do lists–a value Christ calls us to as we live out our faith. These moments of personal growth are beautiful, even when a task is forfeited in the process. And to be honest, I don’t even remember the all-important list in my head. That’s providence at work for you!

Our Values in Action

This past week we celebrated our first gathering in our Wallingford Expression. If there was any example of our church’s values in action, this was it. The outpouring of love and help our church exemplified was immense. It was in the thick of prepping for the building that I was encouraged in my faith and reminded of the many others in our faith family who, despite schedules, tasks, and to-do lists, put their values into action and prioritized the opportunity to value the table and towel in action, despite personal challenges of everyday life. 

Last week Pastor Andrew shared the vision and mission of our church. We are a worshipping, missional, and spiritual community of disciples discovering the difference Jesus makes in all of life. This Sunday, we will continue to explore our values: the Tourniquet, the Towel, the Table, and the Toast as reflected in Acts 2:42-47. It is my hope and prayer that we can lean into the opportunities God has in store for us, and encourage one another in our faith as we continue to witness our values in action both personally and together. 

Written by Pastor Mark Smith, Hallows West Seattle Expression Pastor.