I have always been committed to public service. When I was 14 years old I felt a wellspring of inspiration inside me, especially for such a young man (boy). I was not typical; at all. No, I can vividly remember one night in particular that I had spent reading my Bible (I know, super corny, but I was that kid), and reading Romans 6:23, which states "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (RSV; mind you this would have been in KJV that night).
What did this 14 year old young boy do with that verse, and others like Revelation 20:15, which explicitly states that if your name is not written in the "book of life" then you would be cast into the lake of fire? I wept. I sat at the edge of my bed, and I wept. I wept at the thought of all of the people who would die without knowledge of Jesus, and that I would do anything to make sure that even one "soul" would not have to endure that. I knew at 14 years old that I would set my sights on ministry. Well, long story short, I had several life changes through military, law enforcement, and just life in general that my priorities realigned. I realize that for many religion is vitally important, and I am not here to question that.
For me though, I recognize what drew me to ministry, and why maybe I felt that I was "called" to do ministry. My heart broke, and still breaks for those who are broken. What I realize now, is actually a lesson from scripture. In the book of James, there is a section of scripture that talks about a man in need. James tells the story that many walked by and said "I'll pray for you", but that this was not sufficient. James says that "Faith without works is dead...". James made it clear that words are CHEAP. I don't know about all of the religious stuff anymore for myself, but one thing I do know; even religion teaches that faith by itself will get you and anyone else nowhere. Action must take place for anything to get done.
I feel that same wellspring rising up in me on this night 19 years later, but instead of just broken souls, I weep for a different kind of broken. I weep for the broken 17 year old who just spent Thanksgiving alone not because of COVID, but because they just came out to their parents as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transexual. I weep for the broken pastor, who tonight knows that he doesn't believe in what he preaches anymore, but knows he has to keep delivering the sermons so his family can survive and that his whole world doesn't abandon him. I weep for the broken single mom, who just got home from her third job just to get by to take care of her children more than she takes care of herself. I weep for the parents of BIPOC kids who have to go to sleep every night in a country that will send their kids to war to die, but not fight for their right to live free here at home. I weep for the broken grandparent, who after years of working their asses off, they are struggling to get by because social security that they paid into for decades is not there for them when they need it. I weep for the farmers that are struggling to do their jobs, and instead of solutions they are being offered scapegoats.