Other Duties As Assigned
Seems like every job description closes with "other duties as assigned" just in case the folks in HR forgot something, or maybe to cover those "all hands on deck situations" where the job simply needs to get done no who's responsible for what. In theory, this catch-all bullet point trailing the official what-I-should-be-doing document isn't the main focus of what a typical workday should look like. In theory.
I've been living in the "other duties as assigned" zone for months now.
It's not that I haven't done anything in my core job description - far from it. Actually, that core continues to expand to encompass more responsibility than ever. And it's not as if no one knows quite what to do with me, though I wouldn't blame them for having questions. It's just our whole world has been in transition and everything that's come my way simply needs to get done no matter what my official job description says. Part of me loves the challenge and a part of me wonders what the heck I'm doing day-to-day because I'm usually making it up/Googling as I go along and praying for the best.
This strange "other duties" situation means I've picked up a few skills that I didn't expect. Like learning to drive a gigantic machine lift to install lines of edison lights from the sanctuary ceiling, lights that I wired myself in custom lengths and dangled from a whole bunch of multi-plug extension cords after calculating things like amp loads and going through a whole bunch of eye-screws, tape, zip ties, and velcro to position them. I also learned how to do string art in large scale with yarn and screws, that "gallery height" for artwork is around 58-inches on center, and I spent a couple of days using a chop saw without chopping off any of my own appendages. Just to name a few of my "other duties as assigned" in the last year.
Now, I've been around the block enough to know God doesn't give out skills and experiences just for fun, that "other duties as assigned" usually come with equipping that's necessary for the moment and many more moments to come. I'm not sure at this point if God is preparing me for a construction ministry or what! Still, when these unexpected and out-of-left field opportunities come along, my experience tells me God is gearing me up for something new down the road. He's putting new tools in my toolbox so I have what I need for a season yet unseen. What constitutes as "other duties as assigned" right now might move higher up the official job description list as He and I walk further down the road together. What looks random and funky now may stand front and center in my real job description later.
But even if I never drive a lift again or wire another light bulb socket, I don't despise these apparent side-tracks from my sweet spot of writing and teaching God's Word. True, none of my new skills involve detailed word-smithing or coming up with down-to-earth illustrations of spiritual principles. But they involve communicating God's truths nonetheless. Most of these "other duties" came through attempts to create environments and visuals reinforcing gospel messages presented by others. It's a different kind of of writing for me, writing in visual rather than wordy ways. And it's given me a new perspective on how non-wordy people might see and receive what God so freely offers.
Then I think about all the things Jesus did while He walked on the earth. Did His original job description for "Son of God", "Messiah", or "Second Person of the Triune God" include washing feet, cooking breakfast, or pouring wine? To be sure, when Jesus does these things, He does them to communicate something true about God, and as the living Word, He puts meaning and intention behind everything He does. He never shies from doing "other duties as assigned" whenever they enhance the cause of the gospel.
So I'm not going to shy away either.
I hope this means my heart is beginning to grasp the right attitude, the humility of doing whatever is needed in the moment. I pray that doing these "other duties" teaches me how to follow Jesus "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV) If Jesus can condescend to scrub dirty disciple feet, then I can do a few things out of my wheelhouse, too.
We should never underestimate the impact of "other duties as assigned" when they come up in our lives. Those strings of edison lights still hang from the sanctuary ceiling and may just remind someone of the Light of the World when they look up during church. I heard comments that the string art project helped some folks stay focused on the message given by giving their eyes something to latch on to while their ears took in the message. Has God used any of my seemingly random skills to save souls in the last year? I have no idea. That's not my job.
My job is to do what He asks and then let Him take care of the rest. Even if He asks me to do "other duties as assigned."