Trusting God has always been fairly easy for me – mainly because he hasn’t asked anything too difficult of me. But in less than a month, I am leaving the safe and secure suburbs and moving by myself to live and work and worship in the city of Philadelphia.
You may be familiar with the Philadelphia mentioned in Revelations 3:8, as one of the seven churches of Asia that was praised for its faith and endurance. Let me assure you that the place where I’m moving bears no resemblance to that first Philadelphia! My new hometown is home to 1.5 million people – some of whom know God, but all of whom need God. It’s a diverse population, with many more real needs than you find in the suburbs. In Philadelphia, there is hunger, illiteracy, violence and lots of lonely people.
More than a year ago, American Bible Society announced it was closing Bible House in New York City, as well as my office in suburban Pennsylvania. The Board of Trustees decided we should relocate in one office in Philadelphia – right across the street from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The employees were asked to consider moving within 10 miles of the new office. From our new home, American Bible Society will continue to be involved in global projects, but we will also be working to get 100 million Americans to engage with God’s Word. And much of that work will start in the cities, which is one reason we were encouraged to move closer to Philadelphia.
For some reason, this plan really resonated with me. I will have so many new ways to serve. As Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians (12:5, GNT): “There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served.”
During the day, I will be using my gifts to support the work of American Bible Society, but the opportunities after work are boundless. I’d like to work with teenagers at the local high school, or maybe help staff a center for former sex workers where they can get food and clothing. Or maybe I’ll take my culinary skills to a soup kitchen at a nearby church where I can pour some love into the broth.
Just thinking about the rich opportunities to serve people in Philly excites me, while terrifying me at the same time. But I trust the Lord and I trust that the City of Brotherly Love has some love for its sisters, too!