I work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC.) That is a stone in my stone pile right there. But to expound on what that looks like and how God encouraged my heart recently in this, I wanted to share the following story:
Last week I decided to go to campus and spend some time praying in the student center, to concretely call into the light dreams and vision for God’s glory revealed at SAIC that He has given me. As I was typing these prayers out on my lap top with my headphones in, a couple of students came and started pulling the projector down. I asked if there was an event happening and if I needed to move. “Oh no, we just want to watch the game.” OK; I could continue working/praying and watch some soccer (it’s the World Cup after all) so I moved my chair.
A student, (we’ll call him Amul) came and sat down next to me. Well I like students, especially SAIC students, and it’s not often they initiate social interaction (or watch sports for that matter). Amul asked all the typical questions. He soon learned that I studied ceramics and installation sculpture at SAIC, have been working with InterVarsity at SAIC since graduating, that I am a Christian, and as he put it “not just on Sundays.” Amul is a senior studying painting. He grew up in India, and had heard of InterVarsity due to some IV students who lived on his floor in the dorms. He proceeded to ask a question after question about my beliefs. Half way through this, a student of mine, Claire, joined us as we continued to talk about spiritual things. By the end, Amul had heard the gospel, what the gospel looks like in my day to day and invited himself and Claire over for dinner sometime (along with a couple other students in IV we all knew). I learned that he is Jain, a religion overlapping with Hinduism, but older. When the USA soccer team finally lost after a good fight, we exchanged contact information and parted ways. I left with my student, Claire, who had asked to grab a cup of coffee with me. As we walked away from school she said, “I’ve known Amul for three years. I’ve never heard him talk about spiritual things. That was awesome. Can you tell me about how to get so comfortable bringing those things up?” Yes. Yes and amen, thank you, and more please, Lord.
Before the game had started, in the pages I prayed, one of the things I asked was for favor and blessing in preexisting connections and over new connections at SAIC. Another was increased boldness in sharing God’s love with peace, joy, and ease. My favorite part about the immediacy in which God answered my prayer here was that it also came with the enjoyment/blessing of being able to watch USA play in the World Cup, which I hadn’t counted on. That afternoon really spoke to me of the pleasure God is given when we seek His help to obey in the particular areas He is calling us, and the rewards He lovingly longs to lavish on us when we do obey.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these shall be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33
Oh, and God showed me this same day, that Soccer is an important tool in advancing the Kingdom of Heaven. 🙂