Thinking about this joyful service made reminded me of someone I interacted with at home.
Before I moved to Philadelphia, I was living in San Antonio, Texas. There are many things that I miss about San Antonio. One of the things that I miss the most is seeing the "smiley" newspaper man standing on the street corner on a Sunday morning.
In places around the city on Sunday mornings, men and women hired by the local newspaper publisher stand on street corners selling the paper to those passing by. As I drove to and from church on any given Sunday, I would pass by many of these people. My favorite person to see, though, was a man who stood on a street corner on the northwest side of the city near the neighborhood where I was living.
I loved watching this man sell newspapers because he always did it with a smile on his face. His job wasn't glamorous. Sometimes he stood on the corner in the pouring rain or on a 110-degree day, inviting people to purchase a newspaper. And no matter what the weather was like, he always stood on that street corner with a smile on his face. My family began calling him my "smiley boy" because there was never a day when he wasn't smiling. I don't think that I could ever do a job like his with a huge smile on my face and with so much joy in my heart.
Sometimes we are asked to do big things, and sometimes we are required to perform not-so-glamorous tasks like standing on a street corner selling a Sunday paper. However, it doesn't matter what you are called to do. Instead, what matters is that your words and actions give glory to God and make a difference in the lives of those with whom you work.
I never had a conversation with my "smiley boy." I don't know his name or his story. However, seeing him standing on that street corner every Sunday brought me so much joy. To me, he was an example of how doing even the smallest of things with joy in our hearts can bring glory to God and show God's love to others.
Sometimes working in ministry means you have to do some "not so glamorous" things. In my job, I do more than just write programs and spend time hanging out with children and youth. Sometimes my job requires more than what's on the physical job description. Schlepping stuff around in the rain, cleaning program spaces, making difficult phone calls and writing hard letters to people are all things that I have to do. Ministry isn't always fun; sometimes it is messy and difficult and requires us to do something that takes us out of our comfort zone. However, whenever one of these tasks is thrust upon me, I think about his verse from Colossians and the smiley newspaper boy, standing on the street corner in the pouring rain. Then, I pray for the strength and the courage to live out every part of my vocation--not just the things that I like or that make me feel fulfilled.
Victoria Hoppes is the Associate for Youth & Camping Ministries for the Diocese of Pennsylvania.