In 2012 a man named Luke Mickelson learned that there were children sleeping on what he called a nest of piled up clothes. He couldn’t imagine what that must have been like, so he decided to build a few bunk beds to give for the kids to sleep in. He had no idea when he started how big the need really was. That first year he built 11 bunk beds. For the next several years he found himself building more and more beds, recruiting others to help with the project. The task changed into a calling and led Mickelson to start a non-profit agency called, “Sleep Heavenly Peace.” (https://www.shpbeds.org/)
The need seemed to expand more than Mickelson could ever imagine. That’s when it happened. Mickelson came to a defining moment in his life. He had to make the decision to keep working at his chosen career, or to give it all up to work full time on giving children a bed to sleep in. He decided to leave his job.
“I found that the need I have isn’t financial,” he said. “The need I have is seeing the joy on kids’ faces, knowing that I can make a difference.”
I found that story on CNN Heroes, but it sounds like some other stories I have heard in our churches. In Matthew 25, Jesus challenges the people to feed the hungry, clothe those who don’t have clothes, visit the ill and imprisoned. Our identity as disciples of Christ is enveloped in the notion that we are called to make a difference in someone else’s life.
You never know how the call of God will be experienced. Sometimes it is simply and profoundly heard when you discover how your hobby is just the answer to someone’s prayer. Do you like working with wood? Build a bunk bed or talk with a family who needs someone to build a ramp for a wheel chair. Do you like to read? Get to know a teacher who needs a volunteer to read to the children at her or his school.
I used to think that the real trick to discovering your call in life was to listen to the voice of God, as if it rumbled through your heart like thunder during a monsoon. Or perhaps it is that still small voice we hear so much about. What I have learned is that often God speaks through the very gifts, abilities, and skills you and I have already been given. The real challenge is looking at what you know how to do and saying, “Yes, God, I will use the abilities you have given me to meet the need of someone else.” We have lots of reasons to say no, or not now.
This week, let me challenge you to be attentive to what skills you have. Consider how what you know can make a real difference in the world. Then be courageous enough to act. Who would have guessed that 11 bunk beds would have led to a non-profit agency building beds for children across our country?
Let me ask you this question – What will you do with today’s defining moment?