Yesterday our local church held a 'Set an extra plate' Sunday when we were encouraged to invite students into our homes for lunch. We were given two students to host. I know they enjoyed the food, not just because of their words of appreciation ('Oh to have home cooking' said one) but the rate and amount of consumption! However, it was the conversation that truly shone out most. As we listened to these two students, aged 20 and 19, we heard such high levels of thought and engagement.
One is shortly to leave for 6 months in Indonesia for an internship in his studies on world development. He spoke about his commitment to the poor and desire to work in the development field responding to physical and spiritual needs. In particular, he has passion to serve one of the neediest countries in the world - Yemen. That is where he wants to go after graduating from Wheaton College.
The other spoke about his passion for astronomy and his desire to pursue this at an advanced level as a Christian scientist using his academic gifting with Christian integrity.
How much these young men demonstrated the 'Christian mind' - looking at their lives and futures with one prime concern - to do what God seems to be calling and gifting them to do. As you can tell, I loved the hours we spent together. And listening wasn't just one way either. They wanted to know about our lives and decisions too. This was the intense stuff of 'offering bodies as living sacrifices' (Rom. 12:1).
I mention in Preaching as Worship that when we gather to worship we should be prepared for scattering as worshippers. That everything that happens after we have been in a church building is an opportunity for responding as worshippers, living sacrifices. Yes, they referred back to the church worship service but the whole conversation was continuing the big-picture theme of living for God.
Once I was in their shoes aged 19 and 20 and I remember the exhilaration (and apprehension) of thinking through what God wanted me to do next. But, a few years on (!) I know I still need to keep asking. We are never finished responding as worshippers.