Friday, February 17, 2006

Compassion, NPR, and Pursuing Happiness

I thought I’d post an update about my employment situation. Several of you have offered me counsel regarding the position at the nursery. That opportunity fell through. Apparently Jesus didn’t want me to work for cantankerous Larry this summer. Also, every opportunity I thought I had at Focus on the Family has fallen by the wayside. And, quite frankly, I’m glad. Knowing my vacillating political inclinations, maybe Focus, being so politically charged, would have been less than befitting.

God has decided to provide in another way: This coming Monday, I will begin working as the Volunteer Network Associate Temp at Compassion International (yes, the word “Temp” is in my job title, but we’ll get to that later). For those of you who don’t know, Compassion International (commonly referred to simply as “Compassion”) is a ministry based here in Colorado Springs, whose primary mission is to eliminate spiritual and physical poverty from the lives of children around the world. Basically, they are a child sponsorship organization. I will be working in the Marketing department, for the Compassion Sunday Campaign. Compassion Sunday events are held around the country in thousands of churches on a particular Sunday (though I’m not yet sure which one) in April. Though the events are sponsored by Compassion, they are facilitated by Compassion Advocates—individuals who have chosen to make it their mission to highlight the plight of poor children in developing countries. My job will consist of entering into Compassion’s database the names and addresses of participating churches, and sending advocates the materials that they request.

I have in my job title the oft-debasing word “Temp” because the position ends at the close of April. Please do not ask me what I plan on doing in May. I do not yet know. (Not to worry though—I have made a bargain with the devil, and he assured me I’d be independently wealthy by then.)

Though the position will not be the most stimulating or thought-provoking (it has the potential to be down right mind-numbing), I am looking forward to it. Almost everyone that I have met at Compassion is quite cheery, as if they have been injected with a sort of happy serum, or some such antidote that works to counteract the typical work-a-day angst. Lucky for me, my job should be mindless enough that I’ll be able to listen to “All Things Considered” and “Morning Addition” from National Public Radio everyday on the internet. How I do love public radio. NPR is does for my mind what bran does to the intestinal tract… Well, it makes me think, anyway.

The future, though unclear, is looking bright. As of now, I am considering very highly the possibility of going overseas at the end of my lease, which comes at the close of July. I have contacted several ministries that interest me. Opportunities range from teaching English in Central Asia or China, to reporting on and raising money for relief in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan. No matter what I do, I plan to have more than enough fodder for my blog.

Please pray that doors would open and close, according to God’s will. I am learning that I will be much more effective in life if I live it to glorify God, rather than in pursuit of my own happiness (as unpatriotic as that sounds). Though I do not believe that God’s glorification and the pursuit of happiness are mutually exclusive, I have noticed that when I engage primarily in the latter, the two do become opposed to one another. But when God’s glory is my highest desire, His glory and my happiness seem to merge into the same yearning—insatiable, yet completing.


Brent said...

Matthew, the Compassion thing seems way more up your alley than even working in a nursery. Even though it is data entry, the heart behind the organization seems to be the kind of thing that would get you pretty excited. Anyway, just encouraging you to press on. I'm sure God will lead in His timing.

P.S. - thank for removing the fascist "you have to be a blogger to post comments" feature. :)

The Bearded said...

1) You need to post more often (even your sister agrees with me on this). We enjoy your thoughts.

2) I think your new job could lead you in a million different directions. How exciting! Where in Central Asia?

Even if it ends up being short-term, it is still a great experience...maybe even play a part in your future???

3) Your last lines on "God's glorification and the pursuit of happiness" are thoughts that I still wrestle with when looking to the future. I couldn't agree with you more that God will give us a sense of peace that can not be experienced otherwise.

Many blessings...

~Etch said...

Matthew, your thoughts on happiness and holiness lead me to believe you have yet to read Piper's "The Pleasures of God". Tragic! Get on it and you too can be a Christian Hedonist... You might also check out C.S. Lewis's "The Weight of Glory" - shorter and more accessible - here's a quote:
"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

jenni said...

so glad that you were able to get this job at Compassion. i'm sure that God is working - in and through you. i'm really excited to see where God leads you in the nearing future. your thoughts on God's glorification and happiness were great. i have found that when you seek solely after Him, the rest seems to fall into place with peace. take care!

jenni said...

was just listening to "the answer" by shane & shane. and thought of this entry.

"my happiness is found in less of me and more of You."

blueslovinchick said...

I pray that God will surround you with His mightiest Angels -- that He will shower His blessings upon you and grant you His far beyond and reaching favor. Putting Him first will always, always put you right where you need to be. As long as we trust in Him, we have nothing to fear and everything to gain!

melissa said...

Matthew Hoelscher John, I am so excited for you. It's amazing to hear how God is working in your life. What a great job...I pray that it will bring you much delight in the coming month-or-so. Overseas, eh? Has the thought of Mexico ever crossed your mind? There are at least 8 people that would surely enjoy your presence...