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Two Callings: One God
Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
Recently I have been researching St. Andrew, St. Peter’s younger brother and the first apostle Jesus called. As I did my research on September 21, another pair of siblings crept into my mind. They were my sister Cheryl and I.
Twenty-three years ago on September 20 my younger sister died.
I was the oldest. In spite of that, she always seemed to be more suited to be the oldest. If you look at those studies showing traits associated with birth order, she had all the firstborn traits, even bordering on only child. I, on the other hand, placed lower on the birth order chart.
She did many things first as we grew up: she was the first to get a bra, the first to get a driver’s license, the first to date my husband, the first to go to college, the first travel the world, and the first to go home to God.
I felt for a long time that she was my parent’s favorite. I was envious of all that she accomplished that I was afraid to even try.
We grew up, and I got married and had a family. Cheryl joined the Air National Guard (much to Dad’s joy) and traveled the world.
We stayed in touch, but didn’t have that day-to-day, “I know what’s going on in your life” connection. It looked as if she had it all.
At her funeral in the small town of Mars, Pennsylvania, the line of cars from St. Kilian Church to the cemetery was several blocks long.
Cheryl knew many people and touched many lives. I don’t know for sure how she touched those lives. I vaguely remember hearing about a church connection in Alaska, where she was living when she died.
Whatever those connections, God believed she fulfilled her mission on earth and called her home that fateful day in 1989.
Meanwhile I traveled nowhere, married, had a home and children, and overall led a boring, complacent life. Or at least I thought so.
While Cheryl was in the foreground fulfilling God’s purpose, and I’m sure He had some purpose even if I don’t know what, I was in the background being prepared for mine.
Like Peter and Andrew, Cheryl and I had very distinct and different personalities. God chose each one of us because of those traits and in His time and His way has used them to further His message on earth.
Cheryl, like Peter, was a bright, shining billboard, with some rough edges that, when smoothed and polished, drew people to her and then to God. Both Cheryl and Peter made mistakes and stumbled, but drove straight ahead not fearing the risks, becoming bright stars for God.
I, like Andrew, am more cautious, pulling back and contemplating before I dive in. My light is slower to shine and sometimes may even be missed. But when it is realized, it shines as brightly for God.
God chooses all of us, whether a bright flash-in-the-pan or a slow starter He is molding you, working through you to achieve His glorious ends.
P.S. I didn’t mention in the article but my sister’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. So from my sister Cheryl and my family may you have a blessed Thanksgiving and a faith filled Advent as we anticipate the birth and life of our Lord Jesus.
All For the Glory of God