The take-home: Find your purpose and use your gifts
Thursday, March 15, 2012
By WIL MURPHY
Murphy visited with boys at the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village outside Monrovia. The children were left orphans by the civil war.Are you living for a purpose? That was the question my recent trip to Liberia, West Africa, answered for me.
As young people, we often spend our time building careers, watching sports, shopping and a host of other things. In Liberia, I discovered something that will change my life forever: God needs all hands on deck in the church.
While in Liberia, I was a teacher, photographer, radio personality and was even asked to preach. For me, Liberia showed me that church and our relationship with God is a seven-day-a-week job. I didn’t have to be perfect, I just needed to be willing to work.
Children hammed it up outside the Liberian Annual Conference. In his role as photographer, Wil Murphy captured scenes conveying the spirit and circumstances of the people.I met preachers who walk for days to preach, photographers who traveled all over the conference to take pictures to show that the dedication is everywhere. I met a flurry of people who have few means, but are dedicated to doing much work.
I started every day with prayer, then moved through the day conscious of the fact that everything I did could help build a bigger community of spiritual leaders. In Liberia, I helped young people who look like me realize that there is room for all of us in the church and that our works can help others.
What is your gift? What do you do really well that you can do for your church? That’s what God wants. He wants your heart. He wants us all using our gifts to help others to transform the world.
Don’t worry about what people will say or think. This is about your personal relationship with God and how you respond to the amazing grace he gives us all in spite of our shortcomings. Now is the time to consider being more focused and using your gifts every day for God and your church.
Wake-up call, Liberian-style
On my first day in Liberia, I was awakened at 5 a.m. by the sound of prayer on a loud speaker that could be heard all over the city.
Immediately after the prayer began, a rooster began to crow — and it continued every hour till the sun rose.
I got mad! “Be quiet!” I thought.
The second day, I decided that if the townspeople could get up and pray, I could, too.
Do we even try to do what we know is right spiritually? My trip to Liberia was a wake-up call. That 5 a.m. prayer followed by the crowing of the rooster changed my life.
Is there a rooster crowing in your life?
— Wil Murphy