I spent yesterday hanging out in what we in Seattle refer to as "the Eastside": the extensive cities and suburbs east of Lake Washington and the gateway to the rest of the state.
The Eastside of King County (same county as Seattle proper) accounts for nearly a quarter of the area's total population (1,861,792). It’s only a 10–20-minute drive from Seattle, but cross the bridge and you’re likely to notice some differences; on average, the houses are a little bigger and everything is more spread out. But the many towns and cities that pepper the region remind me of Seattle’s unique pocket neighborhoods. All in all, I like the Eastside a lot.
From Corporate to Called
I was in Bellevue yesterday, to be more specific, a city home to some vivid personal memories. It’s the place where I had my first and last corporate job.
After moving to Seattle
, I was sure I’d be working for a long time somewhere in the corporate world. Sure enough, I landed a job with the Oracle Corporation, working on the bottom rung of the ladder in an administrative role at their Bellevue field office.
My job allowed me to get to know everyone in the office, and I thoroughly enjoyed the relationships and the paycheck—which exceeded my needs and expectations as a 19-year old.
After 17 months, I was offered a new job within the company, in a new department where I could earn much more. I was floored and could not wait to get into my new role. There was a catch, however: I needed my manager’s approval to transfer departments because I had not yet been with the company for 18 months.
I pleaded with her to let me make the move, but for some reason that was never entirely clear, she stuck to her guns and would not let me transfer early. I was devastated and could not for the life of me get my head around her decision.
However, it was in the eighteenth month when God called me to leave my dreams and corporate aspirations in order to come work for Mars Hill as an intern. Not only was I not going to get the raise I was hoping for, the entire meaning of the word changed for me: I would now have to raise
my own support. This was a complete 180 from my original plans for my life, but I had a strange peace about the whole thing.
Ten Years Later…
I still find myself a bit perplexed that God called me to pastoral ministry, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the opportunity and I look forward to someday fully understanding his plan. In the meantime, this June will mark my 10-year anniversary of being on staff at Mars Hill Church.
Yesterday, near my old place of employment once again, I was freshly reminded of God’s grace and call on my life. I’ll be 31 years old this week, and I am blown away that I have spent all of my twenties on staff at Mars Hill. I’ve had a front row seat to see God’s grace poured out over and over again as people’s lives have been changed and blessed by Jesus.
Over at the Bellevue campus, I got to see a lot of these changed lives that I hadn’t seen for quite a while. One couple I married several years ago, and now they have two kids.
Another couple I remember meeting with before they were Christians. They were living and sleeping together—already with two kids—and now they’re married and walking with Jesus and have a third child.
There was another couple that I prayed for more than a year ago, as they were having difficulty getting pregnant. By God’s grace they now have a six-day-old baby.
Evidences of God’s grace were everywhere for me on Sunday, and I rejoice in this gift--not to mention the sunshine. I look forward to many more trips to the Eastside in order to welcome more campuses and to see the faithful work of Jesus in people's lives.
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