We were discussing my dream and the future. I guess he decided he didn’t like my enthusiasm for the ministry and my confidence in my church’s leadership.
“You’re just a cog in the machine and one day you’re going to break and the powers that be will remove you and replace you,” said a bitter old man, named Mel to me years ago. It was a bit shocking and I told him so. “You just wait,” he said.
Thankfully and happily all these years later, my enthusiasm and confidence haven’t waned. Instead, they have increased in the Lord and in this wonderful but imperfect body called the Church. I’ve been blessed with exceptional leaders and hopefully over the years I’ve proven to be a servant leader to use Robert Greenleaf’s, analogy. I love being Becky’s husband, my kid’s dad, pastor to a wonderful congregation and friend to many.
I’ve learned that what you and I do really matters. We are not bits of machinery in an impersonal world. That lesson came from a difficult time in my life. I was pastor of a tiny church. An even tinnier group of people within the congregation rejected me and my leadership and it hurt. When I talked with one of our executive presbyters about it and my surprise that they didn’t like me, he laughed. It wasn’t derisive, it was more like “welcome to the pastorate.” He coached me through that difficult period of my life and the church and I both survived and thrived.
A group of people within that congregation and our board surrounded my wife and me with their love, trust, faith and prayers and together we did something important that became very fruitful. The success we enjoyed is a great tribute to their faith and support! We’ve been rewarded for our work but I dream about heaven and the reward they will receive for their faithfulness. Wow!
During that difficult period of my life I read about Jonas Salk and the cure for polio. Although he is credited with discovering the cure, he didn’t do it alone. He couldn’t have brought the relief and healing to polio victims if it were not for others who helped him. We can’t do what must be done alone. We matter to one another. I’ve come to deeply appreciate the people who go the distance with one another whether in marriage, church, business, sports or community.
What you do really does matter! Your contribution, your vocation matters to the whole world! Think about it, your family needs you, your church needs you, your community and someone somewhere in the world is affected by what you do. You may be in leadership or a support role but your vocation affects the world. Ask any member of a good team and they will be quick to tell you how important that each position is!
Consider how many hard working people were involved in bringing you the good food you enjoyed tonight. Someone had to provide the seed, plant, cultivate, spray for pests and fungus, harvest, market, process, pack, market again, ship, deliver, stock, market again, buy, prepare and serve your dinner. Along the way perhaps an immigrant from Guatemala, a salesperson from Dallas, a truck driver from Georgia, a student stocking groceries to you or someone else cooking your meal. They all really mattered to nourish you tonight.
Before you go to sleep tonight, give God thanks for those you know and don’t know that made possible your life today. If they hadn’t done their part, it would matter if you had money, but there was no food at the store, gas to pump, or water in your tap. Everyone matters.
Tomorrow, doing what matters to you!
Peace and Joy!