Many years ago, I served as a missionary for a Catholic ministry. During our training, one of the things I frequently heard was that while we were called to go out and teach others about Jesus, we would also find that God would do some transformative work in our own hearts.
The truth of those words still bleeds into my life now, some fifteen years later.
Part of our service meant that, like the disciples Jesus sent out in today’s Gospel, we were at the mercy of other’s generosity. Sure, there were scheduled retreats, host homes, and travel days which gave a sense of security. But ultimately you were handed a route, a bed, a meal, and you were in a position of vulnerability.
Just as Jesus instructed His disciples in today’s Gospel to “eat what is set before you” (Luke 10:8) we were told to graciously accept the offerings of our retreat hosts and host families.
Did we grumble? Sure, sometimes we did. I realize now, though, the wisdom of those leading the ministry in teaching us to accept with open hands what others were giving to us. It was more than smiling at the hotdish and egg bake, and day after day of pizza and spaghetti lunches. They were preparing us to accept, with open hands, the generosity of the Father.
Sometimes that generosity isn’t exactly desirable. Whether it be an unexpected job change, a difficult roommate, a death in the family, or an unplanned child, God’s providence can take a while to unfold. The Father is generous, and for some of us, accepting that generosity takes a little more practice.
But maybe we can start in the small things, like the meals set before us, or the seat at the table that we are being offered.
Do you have a favorite of these prayers for vocations?
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up and to our Advent devotional book, All the Generations. You can find out more about her here.