Going After a Life of Love

Shannon Priddy gives the keynote message at the Pacific Northwest annual meeting.

Going After a Life of Love
Shannon Priddy speaks at the 2017 Board of Directors meeting.

On October 15, 2017, United Methodist Women President Shannon Priddy gave the keynote message at the Pacific Northwest annual meeting. Shannon’s message has been adapted for the purpose of encouraging United Methodist Women members to continue the work they are called to do, but also to share it with new people and communities so they might learn about the formidable work United Methodist Women members do in God’s service.

The scripture reading for the weekend of the Pacific Northwest annual meeting, October 13 – 15, 2017, was 1 Corinthians 14:1. I also read it from the Message. These words are guiding, they are powerful and they shape a Christian life:

1 Corinthians 14:1-3: The Message (MSG) Prayer Language

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim [God’s] truth. If you praise {God] in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and [God]. But when you proclaim [God’s] truth in everyday speech, you’re letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience [God’s] presence with you.

These words in this scripture are guiding, they are powerful and they shape a Christian life.

Lately, I have heard this a lot, “I don’t want to bother you, you must be so busy.” I have a lot on my plate, yes, but no more than other woman. I find the time to use the talents God gave me because I am accountable to my faith and my gifts.  I found this quote and have decided to adopt it as my new motto. “Save the excuses. It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.” It’s about discovering your gifts in pursuit of God. I have decided I am never too busy. If I can do it, I will say yes.

We have more choices in our lives than ever before, where to spend our money and how to spend our time. It can get tougher to hear God’s call. Take a deep breath and slow down. When you make time for God’s purpose in your life, you have time.

I work for a nonprofit, environmental organization in Indianapolis, and after 5 p.m. and on the weekends I work on my United Methodist Women projects. I was very open about becoming a director with my employer and then President when I was going through the election process. At first, I didn’t share much of United Methodist Women at work. When I started traveling for conference annual celebrations, my coworkers would ask where I was off to next. I took the time to explain United Methodist Women and why I worked so hard for an organization that works for social justice at home and around the world on behalf of women, children and youth.

Sharing the work of United Methodist Women with my coworkers, I realized, this is one purpose in my life, to bring United Methodist Women into every day speech, letting others in on the truth of Jesus Christ through my work and words. God is not asking us to take on tasks we don’t know how to do. God is asking us to use the gifts we already have to proclaim God’s truth.

We have been doing just that; United Methodist Women members have been busy for 149 years but never too busy, keeping Christ in the center of all we pursue. The Great Eight, through faith, pursued equal opportunity for women and girls. Those original eight women used their network of women of faith to pursue love around the world. They didn’t do it alone. They went into their congregations and asked for more.

Not Working Alone

God doesn’t want us to work alone. God shared the son so we would have an example. Jesus had disciples, so He didn’t have to be alone. Jesus told them to go and make fishers of men, to spread the story, share the good news. United Methodist Women members follow this example. What we do is in the world. We are not sitting waiting for people to come to us, we go to them.

Together, we have been working with local organizations in our communities and with organizations around the world because they know the needs. Our message is simple, we do this because we are called by God to share the news for the purpose of making women, children and youth whole persons. We walk in with a message of love, we walk in with a purpose which has stood the test of time for 149 years.

We each follow the model of Jesus and His disciples’ work in the world, but we can also share what we do with others. We can tell the stories of ordinary women, United Methodist Women members, doing extraordinary things in their communities and around the world to our church congregations, family, friends and, yes, with our co-workers.

Our younger generations live their lives this way. I work with a lot of people younger than me, most of whom are considered “millennials.” Young people share that their life doesn’t have a professional and a private side. What they do in both comes through, is the same. They want their work and their life to show their passion in whatever they do.

Find a life of love as if your life depended on it. We’ve all heard the platitudes, the beatitudes, the mottos in life that keep us moving forward. Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Do not wait for members to come to you. Go to where they are. Jesus didn’t sit at the temple and wait for people to come to him, and neither will we.  

Shannon Priddy is president of United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 3/19/2018 12:00:00 AM
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