If I were to write an autobiography I would love to call it ‘Humour told Seriously’, simply because of the fact that my life has been so. My story is serious without much drama but with a funny twist always. These funny twists are God’s way of intervening in my life. When seen in the light of faith, I now understand how God has prepared me all through these years setting me apart for His work.
Be it placing me in a family with struggles but giving me a mom who showed me how to put trust in the Lord, face those challenges and thus move on or be it me with the most talented bunch of friends in school and surprisingly those who never forced me to get into bad ways even if they had a tendency to fall into it on certain occasions; God prepared me with all the skills I needed for His work in a very secular way. Except dancing, I was into everything - singing, oratory, acting, writing, quizzing, blogging… name it and I was there with my friends… Never realising the role of God in all these stages I moved on but deep inside I had a small, rather very small thought that I am to do something different, my call is different and that I am being set apart for something else.
See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name; your walls are ever before me (Isaiah 49:16).
Never having a deeper realisation, I moved on to pursue my engineering with dreams of doing it in the best institute in Bangalore and believe me, God had blessed me with educational abilities to achieve the same. Well, here is the funny twist… In spite of having scored decent marks, in some incoherent way, I decided to join a college which I had never even heard of before. Well this funny twist was the beginning of an opportunity to experience God’s fatherly love. A senior from the college, Martin, invited me for DTP ’05 and that was my first encounter with the person called Jesus and this movement called Jesus Youth.
And from then on it’s been purging, learning, re-learning and correction, still many things were left desired to be purged/worked upon so as to be a perfect instrument in the hands of the Holy Master.
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
It was during this time that God intervened once again knowing very well that His son needs something better to learn, to chew on, and to work on. An invitation mail from the International Office for Jesus Youth International Leaders’ Training 2010 (JYILT) popped up in my mailbox. I never realised until I got there that God was preparing me to be more teachable, a paradigm I was struggling to overcome for many years.
The two weeks of training was very enriching. Meeting like-minded Jesus Youth from different places and meeting other leaders who lead the movement in various capacities across the world was so overwhelming and above all a big blessing. The one thing that struck me was that though we, the participants, were from different parts of the world, from different backgrounds, from different levels of leadership with different characteristics, we all had one thing in common - we were all set apart by the Lord for His work. A tribe of set apart’s indeed. And in Him our differences became our uniqueness and our similarities became our bonding glue.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
The Jesus Youth International Leaders’ training was an eye-opener in many ways. It opened my eyes to the reality which I had kind of lost in the translation of ministry work and personal struggles which seem to constantly follow me like a shadow. It opened my eyes to the paradigms and perceptions I have about me, about others around me and about the society in general. Shifting these paradigms was an ongoing process during the training and a highlight in fact. JYILT ’10 helped me to look deep into the Catholic, Charismatic and Biblical spirituality and filled me with a strong realisation on how blessed I am to be placed here without any merit of my own to vouch for. This training was yet another ‘Put out into the Deep’ experience, giving me an opportunity to equip myself in such a way that I can be a faithful, passionate and focussed disciple. Personal experiences of the resource persons and the organisers brought greater conviction in me that I too am called like them to respond to the call with a 100% YES.
I am inspired to pen down few lines in the light of the above reflection:
Oh my Lord, I desire, yes I desire to be the first to say ‘Yes’ to your call.
I desire to be the first to say ‘No’ to sin.
I desire to be the first to say ‘I forgive’.
I desire to be the first in accepting my ‘Father’s will’.
In spite of all my desires to be the first, I know for sure that I am already behind someone.
For Jesus has already claimed the first position by saying ‘Yes’ to his call, by saying ‘No’ to sin, by ‘forgiving’ me, by ‘accepting’ God the Father’s will.
Now my task is much easier as I have a leader to blindly follow.
Oh my Lord, I desire, yes I desire to be the first when it comes to following you, my Master.
Thomson Mathew, Bangalore