What are you doing today? How much will you have achieved by the time your head hits the pillow?
I wonder how you answer those questions? Do you answer them in terms of actions completed, to do lists diminished, tasks achieved? It’s good to be able to do that. I remember at the non-conformist vicar factory to which I owe so much of my ministerial and theological foundations (Spurgeon’s College) we had a session about how it is important to set achievable goals. I also remember (and can confirm by experience) that in a role like that of a Minister, which is ongoing, it is important to break things down into bite-sized chunks and to recognise progress and achievements in that way.
For example, people’s ongoing Christian journey (including mine especially) is never one that is completed, at least this side of ‘glory’. There is always more to learn, to teach, to discover, more room for growth, more spiritual fruit that we can bear. But baptising someone is a landmark in their journey of faith. Having someone thank you for something you said that they found helpful is something to celebrate (not out of pride, but that you have been sufficiently in touch with God that you got it right!). Finishing a sermon without anyone falling asleep is an achievement to be noted…
So, to bring it back to you, dearest bloggite, how do you answer those questions?
Did you include the conversation you had with your colleague at work where you were able to encourage them? Did you include the prayer you offered for the victim as an ambulance sped past, siren blaring, lights flashing? Could you count the smile on your face as you watched a child playing? Will you include the sadness as you hear from a friend who is struggling?
If we had to complete timesheets we would probably not include any of them. But they are achievements too. They are all part of being a free sample of Jesus…
The words of encouragement you spoke to your colleague were on behalf of Jesus. The prayer you prayed was interceding on behalf of someone in need: very Jesus-like. The smile recognising the joy of childhood and the wonder of play helps you to remember that we are called to a child-like faith and to play as well: Jesus’ words. The sadness with a friend is weeping with those who weep: Jesus-style.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
Something else I remember from Spurgeon’s was the atmosphere of laughter and learning. We all need to have a healthy sense of humour, especially about ourselves. The following purport to be letters to pastors from children…
Dear Pastor, I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there. Stephen. Age 8, Chicago
Dear Pastor, I know God loves everybody but He never met my sister. Yours sincerely, Arnold. Age 8, Nashville.
Dear Pastor, Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson. Sincerely, Pete. Age 9, Phoenix
Dear Pastor, My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something. Robert Anderson, age 11
Dear Pastor, I’m sorry I can’t leave more money in the plate, but my father didn’t give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance? Love, Patty. Age 10, New Haven
Dear Pastor, My mother is very religious. She goes to play bingo at church every week even if she has a cold. Yours truly, Annette. Age 9, Albany
Dear Pastor, I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland. Loreen. Age 9. Tacoma
Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon where you said that good health is more important than money but I still want a raise in my allowance. Sincerely, Eleanor. Age 12, Sarasota
Dear Pastor, Please pray for all the airline pilots. I am flying to California tomorrow. Laurie. Age 10, New York City
Dear Pastor, I hope to go to heaven someday but later than sooner. Love, Ellen. Age 9, Athens
Dear Pastor, Please say a prayer for our Little League team. We need God’s help or a new pitcher. Thank you. Alexander. Age 10, Raleigh
Dear Pastor, My father says I should learn the Ten Commandments. But I don’t think I want to because we have enough rules already in my house. Joshua. Age 10, South Pasadena
Dear Pastor, Who does God pray to? Is there a God for God? Sincerely, Christopher. Age 9, Titusville
Dear Pastor, Are there any devils on earth? I think there may be one in my class. Carla. Age 10, Salina
Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon on Sunday. Especially when it was finished. Ralph, Age 11, Akron
Dear Pastor, How does God know the good people from the bad people? Do you tell Him or does He read about it in the newspapers? Sincerely, Marie. Age 9, Lewiston