In our American culture today there has been a slow and steady acquiescence of physical labor and steady plodding as we have attempted to gain with ease and comfort being as efficient as possible for exerting real effort. Yet very soon after humankind is created in this sacred meta-narrative that we find ourselves create, work and involvement is introduced both in thought creation and in physical exertion. It was not a punishment, it was the design and a very part of our worshipful existence with God.
It is a real dance between not working enough and working too much and it takes much effort to hear the rhythm of the song that we are dancing life to that we can stay in step and keep dancing at the right pace. When comes to engagement, much of the US Christian has memorized the Revised Standard Perversion of John 10:10 making it say “I have come that you might have life and have it more …COMFORTABLY” but darned if my Bible doesn’t read “abundantly every time” and that makes it sound like there will be effort involved. A friend of mine was in ministry when a volunteer that was a procrastinator and a comfort seeker came to him and said that they wanted to stop ministry because they were “burnt out” to which my friend said “Burn Out?? … Brother, you were never lit!” Many of us can be avoiders of effort and masterful at determining the threshold of just enough exertion to just get by. However, we are told this as a way of presenting us the roadmap for work … “whatever we do, work heartily for the Lord and not for humans, for it is from the Lord that we will receive our inheritance because it is ultimately the Lord who we are serving.
While some of us may have never been lit and are hoping to make it through the seminary experience only focussing on minimal amount of work in order to stay in school and proceed, others are coming in like the acts on variety shows where they spin plates, a lot of plates, and seminary means just adding one more. Once before heading off into a day of retreat, I called a friend for some counsel and prayer. He knew me well and that I was a plate spinner. He said, “As far as I can tell, Jesus was the busiest person that ever walked the face of the earth … but He was NEVER frantic. Because He spent time every day figuring out what the Father wanted Him to do and then went about just doing that!”
“Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service.”
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