This is a very interesting word which some of us don’t even know how to pronounce. I’ve been guilty of butchering a few of the words which are part of our English vocabulary, especially “European style” words having their unique pronunciations. Here are two ways to say the word: “nich” or “neesh”. It’s similar to how some people choose to pronounce the words potato or tomato with a long a or short a. Obviously, what’s more important is knowing the meaning of the word so it can be used properly in a sentence. Here is the definition from Webster’s dictionary: "A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment." Here it is used in a sentence: He is now a partner at a leading law firm and feels he has found his niche. Here are some similar words (called synonyms): ideal position, place, function, vocation, calling, métier, job. (I’m guessing some of you are wondering how to pronounce the second to last word in the list of synonyms!) We should each consider what God is expecting us to do in our life, as it comes to a “niche”. Hopefully your “One Word” will be added to your repertoire of words used regularly. Please consider adding “niche” to your spoken words! All of us, as English speakers, should be increasing our vocabulary no matter how old we are, or based on the depth of our education. For the rest of the article, let’s change from “niche" to “calling” which is used often by me. Now more than ever, in 2021, we have a God-given purpose for being alive and making a difference in our world. Amazingly, 1/12th of 2021 is completed. Time is ticking away. It’s just amazing, somedays I’m saying “slow down” yet on days like today, I’m saying “come on spring you can’t come quick enough!”
Nevertheless, it’s February tomorrow and we need to be thinking about what 2021 has for us in the area of our “calling.” For me, my calling is to be the lead pastor of this local congregation. It also includes me doing my very best at being Christlike in my life, to my wife, to my adult children, and being a “Godly” pastor to those who call Hawthorne Assembly their home. This new year begins with a high level of confidence concerning my calling. One of those areas of calling is to be a missional pastor or a “missions-minded” pastor, and this weekend is proof positive. My calling is not only to the 135 people who call Hawthorne Assembly their home but for me to fulfill the true meaning of the word, “GO”. (More to come in 2021 concerning GO, BE, DO.) Specifically, it means going on short-term mission trips in 2021 and expanding everyone’s horizon at being more missions-minded. The Kingdom of God needs more engaged believers, which will be reflected by more participants in short-term mission trips and possibly some of us will be called into long-term service. Just recently, Kim E. has been at Love Packages for nearly a month. Jean L. has been there just about as long. Maybe you could go too? By the way, there is no snow to navigate in central Illinois, you would get to see my adorable granddaughters and Aaron would greatly appreciate the additional helpers. Let the following passage from 1 Corinthians 9 inspire you as you contemplate this challenge, For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. What will you do with your calling (niche) in 2021?