In case you didn’t realise I was away at a conference for the first three days of this week. While I was there I was checking my emails when I saw an urgent message from someone who needed a relatively instant response from me that I was unable to deal with until I got home. It was nothing to do with church stuff but needed attention. Harumph!
I felt a bit helpless and also (if I am honest) a bit put upon. There is nothing I can do about it until tomorrow (Thursday). I can’t change that fact. But the email did not seem to take into account the possibility that I might not be able to do anything until tomorrow and set an impossible deadline for me to comply with. It felt a bit unfair. Because someone else had not got their administrative act together soon enough now I felt under pressure and was being expected to sort things out in an unrealistic time frame. Harumph!
Then I wondered how often I do that to other people. Do I place them under pressure to fit in with me and my plans? Do I ask other people to adjust to me (perhaps even because of my own inefficiency) to dig me out of a hole? Do I assume that everyone else is as available as me? Do I expect other people to put aside what is important for them in order to do what is important for me? Harumph?
At the conference there was a moment where we reflected on a description of Jesus ’emptying himself’ – divesting himself of his divine rights to take on humanity (while not compromising his God-ness – kaboom! [the sound of theological brains exploding as they grapple with it). There is so much in this but one aspect is that of humility: he did the unthinkable and reversed the expectations of the day that were about social climbing and looking down on others. One part of the Christian message is that in Jesus God re-turned humility from being regarded as something despicable into a virtue. hmmm.
With that in mind I decided that I should stop grumpily harumphing and get on with being gracious. And I should try to ensure that I was not expecting everyone else to dance to my rhythm and join in with me on my terms.
Be blessed, be a blessing