By Loretta Fulton
The advice Taylor Field heard from a chapel speaker once while he was in college was so powerful, Field shared it with other students in a similar chapel service more than 40 years later.
“Find the thing that makes your heart sing,” was the advice Field heard as a student in the 1970s at Wake Forest University. He shared it in a chapel service with Hardin-Simmons University students while on a trip to Dallas and Abilene to visit with partner churches, including Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.
For Field, that thing that makes his heart sing is serving as pastor and director of Graffiti Church on the lower east side of New York City. Once in the middle of a drug-infested, deteriorating neighborhood, Graffiti Church has transformed the area and the people it has been serving for more than 30 years.
Field spoke during the morning chapel service Sept. 26 and again that evening as a guest of Baptist Student Ministries. After the evening talk in Logsdon Chapel, Field visited with students and answered questions from those who are interested in volunteering at the ministry.
Whether they are able to intern at Field’s church or not, they certainly were inspired for service. In the morning chapel service, Field talked about the destructive power of envy. He told a story of two shopkeepers who despised and envied each other.
In the story, God tells one that he will give him anything he wants, but with a warning.
“Whatever you want, I’m going to give twice as much to your neighbor.”
The man’s response was astonishing because it shows just how destructive envy can be.
“Make me blind in one eye,” the shopkeeper said, understanding that the request would result in the other man’s total blindness. That is the blinding power of envy.
“Who should we envy and why?” Field asked. “Our envy of others devours us most of all.”
At the evening service, Field talked about Graffiti Church, where he has served since 1986. Today, there are five Graffiti Churches in the city. The church serves by following five principles, Field said.
- Meet the need first
- Serve the unserved
- See the unseen
- Remember that “small is big”
“We never bring God to anyone,” Field reminded. “God’s already there.”
In the morning chapel service, Field urged the students to listen to the voice of God within them, calling them to do what makes their heart sing. If that thing is service, even in an unknown place like the Manhattan’s lower east side, it’s worth responding to that voice.
“A ship is safe in the harbor,” Field reminded, “but that is not what a ship is made for.”