When I applied for the position of Access Coordinator while living in Castlegar I had no real expectation that I would actually get the position. This was a full time position in Community Care and one that came with a lot of responsibility. In my mind I realized that this position would have many applicants. Many of them, in fact most of them, had more seniority than I. My application was on a whim. So much so, that I didn’t really take the time to organize my references properly. So convinced was I that there would be a large pool of candidates with more seniority and expertise than I that my application would be pushed aside without much thought. So when the phone call came for an interview, I was caught off guard.
I barely had any time to prepare and found myself rushing trying to confirm people to act as references. I went to the interview, a panel interview, and answered all the questions to the best of my ability. I still wasn’t convinced that I would get the position. It wasn’t until I received another phone call asking if I could submit another reference for my application in that one of the references I had, was not appropriate. It was at that moment that I realized that I may have a chance at getting this position. A couple days later, I got the call and was offered the position of Access Coordinator for the Kootenay Boundary Region.
Later, when I was more comfortable and secure in the role of Access Coordinator I realized that this was a good fit for me. I enjoyed working with people and families during the approval phases for the wait list to residential care or assisted living. I found that that I was a calm, unwavering presence in situations of high tension and emotion. To my surprise I found grate comfort in being able to navigate the side lines of the health care system as I liaised with case managers and other staff managers and directors at various levels. I was able to hold my own, and stay true to the policy in place and not allow myself to get easily flustered or influenced by other agendas.
I was always curious as to why me. What was it about me that I had to offer that was attractive enough to the Director of Community Health to hire me in the position. In a conversation, with another trusted colleague, the Regional Nurse Educator, she mentioned that the Director and the interview committee could recognize through my answers that I had the right personality and would be calm and unwavering in high stress situations. This is what they valued most over seniority or other qualifications that the others may have had. Of all my nursing positions, it was working as the Access Coordinator that I found most rewarding and fulfilling.
Perhaps you can recognize similar circumstances in your own life where you have found yourself in a position or doing something you never thought you would do, or be really good at. The reality is that all of us have gifts and talents within us that we may not recognize or see in ourselves. But others do. While these gifts are hidden to us, they are in plain sight to others. Often because of this, we find ourselves being stretched and developing in ways we never thought possible before.
In todays gospel we read about being chosen by God. This passage is a continuation from last week where Jesus talks about himself as the true vine and God the vinegrower. The point Jesus makes is that we are called to be sent out to bear much fruit in the world. We are to bring the best of ourselves in our daily lives that through our work and all that we do, we and others become more fully alive in God.
Today the text from Jesus gets a little more pointed. Jesus says, “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last . . .” (John 15: 16). What does it mean to be chosen by God? I mean it is one thing to be chosen for a position we feel we may not be completely qualified or prepared for. When we are chosen by God, doesn’t this up the anti a bit? Before we disappear down a pit where we feel completely inadequate to be chosen by God to do much of anything, let us think about who we believe God to be in our lives.
The God that I know and I hope you do as well is a God that loves us completely, just the way we are. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We know, whether we realize it or not, that we have everything we need to carry out whatever it is God asks us to do. We just have to say “yes.” So in a way it really shouldn’t surprise us at all that we are chosen by God. Further we are chosen by God, before we ever decided to choose God. Hmm, what does that say about the confidence that God has in us? Perhaps, like in so many situations, God recognizes skills and gifts within each one us that we are not able to recognize or acknowledge ourselves. As we prepare to leave church today, let us reflect on the gifts we have, the hidden skills that others see but we don’t. Let us discern if these are being used to their fullest potential in ways that will bear fruit that lasts for the Glory of God.