Some days I hate it. My long brown coat, I hate it. Why should I have to put on another layer? I am tired of getting home from school all hot and sweaty because of my coat. Why is my freedom infringed? Other days I love my coat. It give me a certain anonymity, unless of course, you look at my shoes which are truly western. I can blend in better. With my brown coat on, I can walk on the streets in my neighborhood. In the summer, I am often able to wear short sleeves underneath making it cooler to move about. My coat is a blessing and a curse. It gives me freedom yet takes it away.
On the days when I am frustrated about my brown coat, God often reminds me about why I wear this brown coat. I wear this brown coat because God has asked me to. He has asked me to come to this place and to love this people. When I look at the big picture, it is a small thing. I am not being persecuted. God provides for all my needs and many of my wants. This small thing of wearing the brown coat allows me to work and serve here in a way that respects the culture and the people here. I don't always like it but it comes with the territory of life here.
My brown coat is something obvious. It is a physical thing that I take off and on. In my life, there are other small things that God asks me to do that are much like this brown coat. I don't necessarily like them. I think I have certain rights. I want it to be about me. Why should I have to do it? It might mean extra patience and time with a student who has been absent. Or it could be playing wii tennis with my son even if I have no chance of winning. It might even be hearing a sewing ladies story and trying to figure out a way to help her feed her children. Or it might mean redoing my lesson plans for the third time because once again we either have a day off or half a day. I don't like dying to self. To be truthful, I am not very good at it.
God's work reminds me of these things.
Gal 5:24 (Jer) You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.
Gal 5:24 (TEB) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature, with all its passions and desires.
1 Pet 2:24a (Phi) And he personally bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we might be dead to sin and be alive to all that is good.
Jesus did a big thing so I could do a small thing. What a gift that is. What small things is God asking you to do today?