Jammin’ and On Edge

To my dear concerned friend:

It’s just after midnight past my 41st birthday as I write. I’ve been thinking of what you asked me about 28 hours ago, and I realized I have not told you about a dream I have. Or maybe a vision.

I know: my calling.

First off, I truly appreciate your concern that I am involved in things that require time & money but am not getting paid for it. I’m concerned about it too. In fact, that was one of the reasons I left my former — involvement. I had this conviction that the work we were doing deserved to be honored not just verbally but also financially. In this I differed with the others, and as I prayed about it more, I sensed the heart-breaking leading to leave.

So what am I doing now, “working without pay” again?

How do I explain? As a Christian, I always understood that mission work involved proclaiming the Gospel, the good news of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. And if I understood missionaries correctly, the Gospel is free and should be proclaimed free of charge.

The former involvement that I had, although they were considered missionaries, was no longer actively involved in Gospel-spreading like we were about 15 years ago. It now focuses more on teaching and training, and for me that function falls under “the laborer deserves his wages.” I began to perceive the work as underpaying. Unfortunately, I do not have the conviction to raise support for myself so I can work for them…so I eventually faced the fact that I no longer belonged.

Now I’m in a jam. I was told right from the start that I wouldn’t get paid. I was invited to be the blogger, and my role has evolved to surprised host, emergency worship leader, volunteer production assistant, and lately, sound tech trainee — or wannabe.

I’m also on edge. It began with a promotion, then a pitch-in guesting, then an invitation to help out, again, clearly without pay. I have happily chatted, chauffeured (they paid me for the gas, tho), chased photo ops, and served in whatever way I can help.

My heart is at peace, though. Because first of all, everyone involved are practically what is called tent-making. They pay their own way, and if they do raise support, it’s primarily for the work, which includes, I believe, the pay of the workers. I’m a volunteer, but they make sure I — or Irl, to be exact — don’t give too much of myself away because I will not get paid.

Another reason is because these two new involvements are actively spreading the good news of Jesus Christ through what they do. Whether directly, through a gospel presentation, or indirectly, through the sharing of talent and life stories of the guests, Jesus and his finished work on the cross get proclaimed. Openly.

But there is a third, more encompassing reason: my calling.

I’ve always believed I was called to do more than sing, that I was called to teach as well. And to help those I teach to be able to pass it on. But like any call of God, it will grow, enlarge, expand…until it becomes way beyond what you could ever think or imagine.

As a classically-trained musician, I have developed an appreciation for music, all music, regardless of genre (I do prefer singers who enunciate clearly, because well-pronounced words, even if in a different accent, will be esier to understand). I enjoy immensely seeing a musician interpret his/her song in a way that shows his native roots.

Maybe we can call it expressing personal and national identity.

My vision includes promoting indigenous styles of worship. Whatever kind of music genre exists in a country is the indigenous music of that country, even if it is heavily-influenced by music that’s originally from another country. In my two new involvements, we are fast becoming a venue for promoting local music, whether by the well-knowns or the soon-to-be-knowns.

In short, these two new involvements are actually venues for me to be able to fulfill part of my calling: proclaiming Jesus’ finished work on the cross when I’m leading praise and worship, and being able to push for the exposure of original Filipino worship music.

I admit it: I still catch myself wishing that these new involvements can become income-generating. And even if I think it’s a worthy endeavor to get partners and supporters for, I’m not an official worker so I can’t. I just have to trust that the Lord will be providing.

And he has! Miraculously, surprisingly, and perfectly on time!

So thank you for your concern. I really really really truly appreciate it. And I know you will still be praying for me, and for opportunities for me to earn income too. God also provides through the simple everyday things like a salary, not just miraculously.

For now, I’ll keep on jammin’ and on edge. Because I know that at this point in time, this is where I am getting a lot of training for what God might possibly call me to do some day.

I believe that God wants me here for now. He’ll prepare what I need for when I need it, and not a moment before!

God bless you back! ^_^

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