As I was walking to my car that evening I felt guilty and depressed. “Maybe I’m not cut out for campus ministry…” I thought to myself.
When I was a student, I loved getting to know everyone in the room. A friend of mine use to tell me that walking with me from class to class was like walking with the president. I just felt like I needed to smile and shake hands with everyone. I enjoyed it too!
When I started dating Kimberly, my wife, I learned a whole lot about her. She’s beautiful, loves the Lord, is crazy smart, has a heart for Japan, and I could go on and on. But, there’s something else I learned about her. She’s an introvert. Whereas I wanted to get to know everyone in the room, she just wanted to have a deep conversation with 1-2 people. This part of our makeup or personality influenced our capacity (what I’ll call our coffee cup).
For Kimberly and me, different aspects of ministry would fill our cup, and other aspects would seem to pour it out. When our cup is empty, we feel empty and need to recharge.
When we joined staff with Cru several years ago, I didn’t realize just how much this would play in to our individual ministries. As we’ve been a part of different teams we’ve labored alongside other believers and seen their own different capacities. Some things that made me facepalm, actually filled their cup to the brim, and vice versa. There has never been any tension here and I’ve always rejoiced at the God-given capacities of my wife and fellow teammates.
Because of my sinful nature, I’ve compared myself by looking at my wife and teammates as the way I should be, and looked at myself as the way I should not be. The last chapter recounts a powerful scene between Jesus and his disciples after his resurrection. The camera focuses on Jesus and Peter eating breakfast over a warm fire on the shore.
The conversation is powerful because Jesus is restoring Peter to himself. He’s holding him accountable for his actions, the actions Peter knows so well, and he’s loving him in the midst of it. Jesus is loving Peter, and out of that love, he’s also exhorting Peter. As Jesus and Peter continue their conversation walking along the shore, Peter notices John following close behind. Peter then goes on to say:
“Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:21-23 ESV)
Different By Design
I love Peter’s boldness to hear Jesus’ words, especially that his life will end in martyrdom, and then to look behind him and be like “What about this dude?!” Like Peter, if it’s not been obvious already, I spend a lot of time fighting for peoples’ approval and comparing myself to them. Jesus’ words for Peter are a great reminder for him and for me. Jesus brings us back to the heart of our relationship with God, trusting in and following Jesus.
Scripture reminds me that my personality and capacity (although changing in different seasons) is by God’s design (Ps. 139:13, 14). As I sit in our staff meetings, trusting in Jesus, frees me to celebrate the diversity sitting around me. When I’m tempted to compare myself and beat myself up for not having the drive, gifts, or energy of others, I can bring all of myself to Jesus and remember he’s called me to follow him.
Vinnie Casanova helps lead the Lone Star Epic Team in Austin, TX. Vinnie is husband to Kimberly, the most beautiful, gifted woman he knows. He is also the proud, and often frantic, father of Clara, his second sweetheart. He has been on staff with Cru since 2007. He’s passionate about running, drinking good coffee, teaching God’s Word, and developing leaders who want to see The Great Commission fulfilled in their generation. For more information on Epic Movement visit: www.epicmovement.com. To contact Vinnie, email firstname.lastname@example.org