Fourth-year of college brings quite the interesting series of dilemmas. We seek jobs, degrees, friends, companions, roommates, apartments, and of course, the perfect ending to a college experience. What many fourth-years may not consider is who might be seeking us. What is God seeking for us as we depart from our undergraduate lives? Our tender, early-twenties hearts ache for a clear calling. Through my experience with Theological Horizon’s Fellows program, I lent my ear to God and learned to eagerly and patiently await my calling - my vocation.
Throughout the program I was struck by many little kernels of wisdom from the great leaders that surround the Theological Horizons community.
The Lord sent a true messenger in my mentor, Evan Hansen. Over coffee, Evan spoke of his life, his vocation, and his love for his wife and his dearest daughter. Evan’s message to me was simple, direct, and so impactful. “Relax”. Evan taught me to take time to breathe and enjoy the splendor of a life filled with The Lord’s love.
The fellows program brought another great leader in Michael Guthrie. Michael showed us the true face of Jesus through a study of His parables. Michael’s kernel was one that I will carry with me for many years to come. “As much as the Lord demands to be the center of your life, you must also personally command his one and true place.” Michael brought this axiom into my life through the parable of the sower in the field. Just as the sower “sold it all”, I must remember that everything is “sold” to put God at the center of my life.
I most especially want to recognize the leadership and love shown by the program director Christy Yates. Christy, given that she appears the age of most my colleagues, has such a way of relating to a cohort of college kids better than any other leader I have ever been around. However, seeing here with her four children around, she possesses such a gift for showing tenderness, warmth, and affection of or befitting a mother. Christy’s kernel of knowledge wasn't anything she said, it was something she showed time and time again. The purest form of love is servant love. In John 13:34, Jesus gives His disciples a new order or command: "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” This statement follows Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet on the occasion of the Last Supper. In washing their feet, Jesus gave the disciples tangible evidence of what love was like. The Greek word that is used here for love is agapao. In the Greek, this verb "to love" is present, active, and imperative. Agape is pure in the heart of Christy.
Beyond the time to talk and to pray with one another, Horizon Fellows required us to read intentionally on vocation and to seek a personal mission statement. My statement, after much contemplation is as follows. “Forever clinging to God’s grace and the fruit of the Spirit, I want other’s to feel, genuinely experience and believe that they matter to me, so that they may truly know that they matter to God and to the creation of His Kingdom.” I pray that God will grant me the faith-based adroitness, spiritual humility and invigorating zeal to fulfill this mission. I know that Horizon Fellows had cleared the path and will guide me as I leave UVA this May.
Join me in prayer as the program chooses it members for next year. To all such members, dive in and enjoy!
Keith Wilson is a fourth-year student from Louisville Kentucky and is studying Leadership and Public Policy at the Batten School. Keith's hobbies range from singing with his a cappella group, brewing a nice pot of tea, playing squash, and artisanal sandwich making/eating. It is his goal to one day own an upscale gas station/convenience store and teach at his alma mater, Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky.