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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

At Your Service

We live in a glamor and glitz world. We are enamored with the "big deal." Every news story is "breaking news" with accompanying music to emphasize its (supposed) import. We want to be the best ever, doing memorable things which matter.

When I was in seminary I worked at The Summer Institute at Leuven. For two weeks priests attended seminars. We were there to serve them. I got a chance to take a walk and ask one of them about life. I so wanted to be a good priest and sought his advice.

One thing he said which has stuck with me was this: "Christianity is not about doing great things, it is about doing small things in a great way." Christianity is about discipleship. Being a disciple means "to follow." Christians are not leaders, they are followers. Jesus is the Leader. He directs, we respond.

Most of us are 'stuck' doing some things which we would prefer not to do. Many of our (imposed) tasks are things which we  consider obstacles to living a fuller Christian life. We may be irritated and grouse about the mundane duties which seem to suck the life from our souls. Those daily responsibilities of caring for young, old or ill become a heavy load. The unexciting and obscure tasks frustrate us. We had hoped for so much more. In place of the joy of loving service we only feel accusations of our conscience because we are reluctant in our tasks. We are "doing what we do not want to do and feeling guilty because we did not want to do it..."

Yet, if we think about it, our purpose on earth is not to tell God what we will do for Him. In a real sense, God needs nothing from us. Obedience is more pleasing than any sacrifice. Obedience far surpasses any program or service with which we might come up. In the end, it is God's world.

Even so, I can get sad or depressed that this little life of mine is not enough. And I recall the scene from Lord of the Rings as the trembling soldiers stood before the gates. Suddenly the shattered wood flies open and a giant ogre surges through and sweeps away a dozen with one swing of his club. Those men, nameless and wordless, also served. They too were faithful. They were not Aragon or a Gandalf- prince or wizard- heroes of the story. Their adventures were peripheral, as they make a momentary appearance. Yet, they played  their part. They were obedient. In the end, if God wants me or you to toil at "other tasks" so be it. We are here to learn to trust, to love, to serve. Servants are not in charge of the house. Servants do not tell the master what they shall do for Him, they ask what He would have them do. It is okay if you are anonymous. God sees. God hears. God knows. God remembers. And at journey's end, even though nameless and wordless, we will be welcomed into His presence as a treasured member of His family. And then it will all make sense.


  1. Wow, Jeff. Thanks! This was exactly what I needed to meditate on today. God bless!

  2. Thanks! I desperately needed to be reminded of that today. It's something about which I've been praying for awhile and now I have a fresh perspective. Shalom!