Nothing Ventured, Nothing Wasted by Shannon Q. Alexander

My mother always used to keep a large emergency first aid kit in her car. It fascinated me to no end, but I was never allowed to rummage through it as it had too many things inside that were "not for a little girl." "Well, then, why do you even lug that thing around?" I would ask crossly. "You are are never going to use it, and it’s just in the way."

Her soft reply still resounds within me. "Honey, you just never know when you might use something that you have learned. I have to always be ready to help. My job is to make people feel better, and that job doesn’t end as soon as I walk out of the hospital. I am a nurse, always." This mindset is also true for Christians in their service to the Lord.

We are Christians always, wherever we are. Our experiences and education which make us a living throughout the week can translate into abilities that edify His church. We just have to be ready to help.

Peter encouraged other believers in I Peter 4:10 to "use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms."

Although she never said so, I always had the feeling my mother would have been pleased to see me follow in her footsteps and into a safe career in medicine. After all, someone is always going to be sick, right? But, taking my excessively weak stomach into account, and my God-given ability to "run off at the mouth" as she liked to put it, my mother understood my decision to study journalism and the communication arts.

But my minor in drama was something else entirely. Always the pragmatist, she couldn’t understand my studying something that I "was never going to use." But drama, too, seemed a natural choice, as I had spent the year after high school touring the country in a Christian drama troupe called the Covenant Players.

It was a wonderful experience for me to learn how to minister to disparate groups through the medium of drama. I performed in many different denominations, as well as schools, civic groups, prisons, and even on a busy city street corner. I learned the power of a play and that even a small skit could pack a one-two punch to the solar plexus if done properly. I had witnessed the Lord using our plays to move people closer to His side - even those who hadn’t heard His name except as a curse.

In the years that followed my graduation, I used my degree full-time as a reporter, drawing from my education every time I wrote a sentence. But my minor seemed useless. I felt almost embarrassed to tell people I had also studied theater, as it seemed such a waste of money. My mother was right. I was never going to use what I had learned.

That seemed to be the case until my husband got a new job and we moved to a new city, and found a new church. Just weeks after I joined, I got a phone call. Someone had heard through the grapevine that I used to be an actress and had studied drama in college. I would be just the person to help the church’s fledgling drama ministry get off the ground and teach the members the basics of theater. Would I help?

Indeed. Things had come full circle in my life. Although I was no longer an 18-year-old girl traveling around the country as an actress, God was allowing me to use my experiences to reach others once again. Nothing we ever do in the name of the Lord is ever wasted.

Most of my ministering today is as a director and drama coach. I have found that the world behind the scenes can be, and often is, just as enjoyable as downstage center. The Lord wants us to be happy and to use the dreams and aspirations that He places in our hearts. Sure, I am not a world-famous actress today. But what He is allowing me to do is to make Him more famous. He has let me have a hand not only in leading others to minister, but to minister to an entire congregation. I think my mom would be proud.

Shannon Q. Alexander is a graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Journalism. She is currently a freelance writer and has completed a children’s book. E-mail at: JSnHAlxndr@aol.com.