This month’s featured ministry is the passion of Peacemaking led by Julie Todd out of Pennsylvania. DCL Ministries is very proud to bring to the light a ministry that makes one question, “What are my deep passions in life and how can I use my motivational gifts when serving the Lord in my everyday life? In this, eloquent, post Julie Todd brings to our readers attention that you need nothing more than a willing heart and a desire to do his will when serving the Lord, and so with great pleasure we welcome Julie Todd as our, featured, contributing writer here on our Writer’s Corner for the month of February... Enjoy!
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” –
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Julie Todd an Administrative Judge for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a place where she has a thriving career while striving daily as she works together with parties involving employment discrimination disputes. Julie Todd’s goal , as a judge in these disputes, is to always resolve conflicts ,early on, in the litigation process so, it is no surprise to DCL Ministries with Julie Todd’s diverse background and dedication to resolving conflict that she also has a passion for Peacemaking when serving the Lord in the body of Christ. When disputes surface as we all know they do Julie Todd is the first to say , “It is an opportunity to educate one another on our differences and through grace, mercy, and God’s love we can bridge the gap to peace and understanding.”
And that’s our Girl Julie Todd being featured this month on Writer’s Corner, but as Julie and I discussed her contributing article for this months featured post it was to my surprise, to learn, with all the many wonderful contributions, and thoughtful acts I have witnessed in her ministry, to date, what was surprising was Julie’s humble response as well as thoughts on why DCL Ministries would desire to feature her wonderful ministry…
“I suppose she asked me because she knows of my deep passion for peacemaking for it’s an integral part of the work I do as an Administrative Judge. Or, perhaps she asked me because she has explored Biblical peacemaking with me in small groups in church, much of which was based on Ken Sande’s revolutionary and “go to” Biblical guide to resolving personal conflict, The Peacemaker. Regardless of her reason, I was happy to oblige – I thought, really, what’s so hard about writing about your passion?
I have discovered the difficulty: for me, it lies in my perfectionist tendencies to say and do all the “right things”, while also honoring the Lord in the process. It lies in my worldly, legalistic expectations that in order to write about a gift or passion, it must be clothed in a formal “ministry”. So, I prayed about it. And I was blessed with the reminder that “ministry” is broader than simply the vocational responsibility of pastors, missionaries, Sunday school teachers, pastoral counselors and the like.
No surprise, the Bible is quite clear about this. In his letter to the church in Colosse, Paul writes of Christ’s glory and power, and exhorts us to live a life of compassion and love, regardless of our position (or ministry) in life:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17(emphasis added)
And, a little further into the letter, he writes:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ( Colossians 3:23-24)
So, that is what I strive to do, as a peacemaker. The Lord has given me the motivation to help others make peace. Countless times over the years, parties in cases have thanked me for helping them reach a resolution in their employment disputes and allowing them to move on with their lives, rather than getting bogged down in expensive litigation. Friends and family members have appreciated my intervention when one side to a conflict just cannot see beyond their point of view.
Church members have told me that the Peacemaker Ministry-based small groups that I led in 2010 and 2011 had a profound, life changing effect on their lives. All Christians are called to peacemaking as part of discipleship, and the Bible is full of examples of how we can, and should, be peacemakers.
However, this ministry of peacemaking isn’t always pretty, and to be sure, at times, we fail at it. I may get impatient with my husband and snap at him for not completing a task as soon as I hoped. Sometimes I disrespect him in front of the children and fail to remember, in the moment, that the Lord provides grace to us, and wants us to show it to one another, especially to our spouses.
I may reprimand a party in one of my cases, impatient with their lack of preparedness. When I, at times, have been equally ill-prepared in my responsibilities at work. I may even snarl at the customer in front of me in line at the grocery store, who can’t seem to get her coupons together fast enough, holding the line up for what seems like an eternity, but really, is just a minute or less.
But for the grace of God and what He taught us about forgiveness, I would be a fraud, giving the term “peacemaker” a bad name. Thankfully, as my Bible notes in Colossians, we have “freedom from human regulations through life with Christ”. We have the peace of Christ, who is the Prince of Peace. He forgives us our sins and we, His children, are reminded: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 Thankfulness may be one of the best reasons to seek peace.
In closing, allow me to share a recent example of my being called to peace in an awkward situation involving a neighborhood friend. It’s a simple story, unremarkable, save for how I was convicted to reach out after the incident. I was driving home after an afternoon of running errands. I was anxious to get home. I was tired. As I approached the stop sign near the end of my street, there was a car that had just driven up perpendicular to mine (to my left) and had stopped after seeing my car approaching – she did not have a stop sign and could have easily just driven through.
She sat there, waiting for me; I sat there waiting for her. I became annoyed, as I just wanted her to drive through so I could make the left turn. In a huff and after waving her on with no movement from her, I made the left turn, dramatically screeching as I shifted into the next gear. I gave her a dirty look as I passed her, as if to say, “fine, go ahead and sit there even though you have the right of way, someone of us have things to do and need to get home.” Her look was equally “unclean”!
But to my horror (and hers as well), as I passed her, I saw that she was a friend from the neighborhood and that her son (a friend of our son) was in the car with her. Embarrassing? Check! Was I ashamed? Check! I tried to forget about it, at one point even convincing myself that it was someone else. It didn’t work. And then, something clicked for me. I was convicted to send her a text. Go to her and apologize for my rudeness. Here is the exchange:
Me: Hey “neighbor”. Sorry for almost crashing into you earlier today at the corner. How are you guys doing? Take care. Just wanted to say “hello”.
Neighbor: “Hi Julie! Yes, sorry about that; [my son] was mortified!” Her relief was almost audible.
We exchanged text hugs and kisses (xo’s) and that was the end of the conflict. I won’t have to think twice about it. I won’t have to avoid future contact with her. We have peace and I am so thankful for that.
So, you see, we all can serve one another, even without a formal ministry. And, while we may fail at times, we can look to our heavenly Father, to show us an alternative to worldly resolutions. I encourage you to go out in this world and share your ministry, whatever that may look like. May the Lord bless you!