As a pastor, each week means reading. I spend time reading Scripture, books, newspapers, blog sites and everything in between. I’ve been thinking about how I can review and catalogue the ideas, concepts, and stories I come across. I’ve also been thinking that many of my “findings” may be of use and interest to others. To this end, I am launching something called Top 3. This is my list of the top 3 things I’ve read this past week and a bit of commentary around one or more of them. You will find links, when possible, to read for yourself.
#1 – “Send them away so they can eat Jesus. YOU FEED THEM. We only have 5 loaves and 2 fish. BRING THEM HERE.” Matthew 14.16-18 paraphrase (EMPHASIS mine)
Scarcity or abundance? By which perspective do we operate? Do we serve the God who created everything or some other? This passage was from the Lectionary this week and struck me how brazen Jesus was about the disciples doing something and something quickly. You feed them…bring what you have here and I’ll make sure it is enough. I wrote earlier this week about the fact that sometimes (well often) Jesus’ words are easy to understand but hard to put in practice. This is another case in point. I am a well-documented worrier and fretter (not sure if that is a word but you get my drift) and spender of wasted energy on things that rarely materialize. Maybe you can identify? If so, we both need to take a step back and take a larger perspective of our faith, our stewardship, and most of all our Lord. For we serve a God who says what you have is sufficient for I your Lord am sufficient. Bring me your scraps and I’ll make them abundant. Whether your worry is financial, or giftedness, or relationship, or anything else, know that the Lord your God can and will take what you have and do amazing things. Will we bring him our 5 loaves and 2 fish?
This article is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. But I enjoy reading about how to be productive and what “hacks” others have come up with to make being effective and efficient. The one thing from this article that hits home for me every time is the misnomer of multi-tasking. No such thing as multi-tasking. We are wired to focus on one thing at a time. Jesus said,”Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything else.” (Matt. 6.33NLT). Let me say it again. We are hard wired to focus on one thing at a time. It is true in our work and especially true in our faith journey. Take some time soon to assess your priorities. Take some time to assess where your attention is divided. What do you wake up thinking about? What gets you up at night? You get my drift.
#3 – The layman need never think of his humbler task as being inferior to that of his minister. Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. (underline mine) (please excuse the lack of inclusive language!) from The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
My doctoral dissertation is on Christian calling. More exactly, the confidence that we have in our call and how it impacts life. So you will probably see a good bit of “calling” in my Top 3! I’ll even add a tab soon at the top of this blog to store some of my more lengthy writing on the subject for those who have interest.
But for now back to this quote from AW Tozer. The idea that only the “clergy” are truly called to do spiritual things and everyone else (eg. laity) are called to something inferior is harmful. Nothing could be less true. Talk about fake news!
Tozer correctly points out that all of life is a sacred call when we do it for God, in Jesus’ name, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Helping your neighbor…sacred. Praying…sacred. Taking the trash out…sacred. The implications for this clergy/laity distortion are wide ranging and I don’t have enough space here to unpack them. But for now, let me leave you the challenge to begin seeing all of your life with the potential to be sacred space. It is more than a mindset change…it will change everything.