Wednesday, 30 November 2016

You only had to do one job!

It's Wednesday morning and outside it's a balmy three degrees below zero: The world is a cold place indeed and yet where there is an absence of something, however small, where that missing thing is to found, that little being made real makes a difference.

I am increasing finding myself hearing the phrase, "You only had one job . . ."
Which continues by pointing out the missed opportunity to do that 'one job'.
Perhaps it was merely done inefficiently, or it could be that the task before was missed completely.

Depending on who it is using the phrase and the context, this is one of the funniest or most damning comments I know. It can be a response to a messed up attempt to do something and raises a smile in speaker and recipient of the words - it can also bring pain as are reminded of the fact that the one task we had we failed to do! I often struggle with the image of standing before Jesus and having Him use it with regard to His Church, but don't think I am creating harsh and critical Jesus here because that's neither the intention of the reality, but I am sure He will be having a 'bit of a chat' with some of us when the whistle blows :-(

Everywhere I go these days I'm encountering Christian who tell me how kind, loving and affirming Jesus is - and that is so very true - but they then continue and try to take me to a place where Jesus applauds and affirms us all in our inactivity and in the botched, half-hearted, attempts at that 'one job' He has left us to do.

But what is this 'one job'?

When asked what the greatest commandment was (Matt 22 // Mk 12 // Lk10) Jesus responds with the words:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
 This is the first and greatest commandment.
 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Perhaps this is the 'one job'; but if it is then how are we doing with it and what does it look like to have us loving God with all that we are?
How are we loving our neighbours 'as ourselves?'
What And what would the world look like if we were doing this 'one job' to the best of our abilities?

In conversation recently I discovered that the same person who gave a token gift (because giving is something we have to do) each week as their offering had recently bought themselves a massive gift to support their hobby. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking them; how can I when I am as guilty as the next person when faced with the choice of sticking all my money on the plate or buying something I want. We don't stop and think, "Ooh, I want that but the Church needs the money more!"
Do we?

Consider these questions:
Have you ever seen someone who has a need and chosen to go a different route rather than engage with them and it?
Have you ever avoided bumping in to someone rather than be called upon to offer a helping hand or a lift or something that draws upon your time and effort?

I bet you have because I have have; it is part of our fallen and flawed human condition!
The problem is that we think about where we need to be or what we want to be doing and don't think, "There's a neighbour, what would I want someone to do for me if I was them?"

Do we?

Perhaps the 'one job' is to be found in the 'Great Commission' as found in Matthew 28 (// Lk 16):\\: "Then Jesus came to them and said,
'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
  baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' ”

What if this is the 'one job'?
How are we, as individuals doing? How as we, collectively, as Church, getting on with this? Are we standing in the authority we have in Christ and making a difference; Are we making disciples or merely looking to boost our Sunday attendance numbers and by so doing increase the money in the plate?

I can only ask these questions and seek to answer them for myself.
I'm not trying to put you on the spot, merely asking you to stand next to me!

Are we seeking to make obedient disciples or merely recruit committed members of a club which affirms all that we do and tells us that all will be well?

Do we speak of giving in the model Jesus, the Christ, gave us (that means sacrificial) or are we happy to leave it at paying our parish share and the other bills?

One last contestant for the position of being that 'one job' comes in the shape of the 'misseo dei'; the 'mission of God'

God has acted to reconcile us to Himself through the coming of Jesus (fully man, fully God) and His death on a cross for us. There He paid the price of our sins that we might be in relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and, being born again - that is 'made a new creation' - might live new lives here on earth and spend eternity with Him.

What if this 'one job' is to be in step with Jesus and to be out there blessing what He is doing in our cities, towns and villages?

How are we doing this 'one job'?

To do this we need to be praying and using our spiritual eyes to see where God is doing stuff and get in step with Him.

Here we are, the first week of Advent and preparing ourselves for His first Advent whilst looking for His second. What is that 'one job' we need to be doing to ensure that when He returns (and I am convinced that He will, aren't you?) he fist words from His lips won't be, "You only had one job . . .


1 comment:

UKViewer said...

We are currently doing the Pilgrim course on the Beatitudes and last night we reached session five, where we were challenged about Kingdom Values and how we saw them, how we lived them and how we can bring others to the Gospel by using them.

To my mind, your 'one job' post echoes some of the thoughts that we had. I tend towards the Catholic end of the Spectrum and the Sacramental. I quoted G Guiver's book on the Life and Work of a Priest - where he introduced me to the sacramental aspects of everything - if we think of things in that way, we tend towards Kingdom Values as intrinsic to our being.

It's an interesting conversation to be had, and I love that we are engaging with it. As you are here.