God's Job

God's Job

I have a somewhat long list in front of me of things that I, or others I know and love have been dealing with these past weeks and months:

Smoke
Fire
Pandemic
Depression
Anxiety
The election
RBG
John Lewis
Online school
Online work
Furloughs
Hospice
Health problems
Foreclosures
Death

Aside from the loss of John Lewis (may he rest in peace) and RBG, (may her memory be a blessing) these things are not exclusive to 2020, but the year is shaping up to be the greatest hits of the worst.

Last week I preached about sin and the end of days and it’s not even Lent.

The apocalyptic revealing of the truth of the world is an exhausting reality to endure. And to a great degree, that’s what we’re being challenged to do: to endure. Not to wave a wand and make it disappear. We can’t do that.

We’re all, in a very real way, trying to survive this moment. This is not what any of us wanted. This is not what we signed up for.

But it does invite the question: what did we sign up for? What did we sign up for on this Christian journey? What did we sign up for when God came calling and we said “yes” to that call?

What work did we think would be expected of us?

What did we think the wages would be?

God gives us what we need to get through the day, but are we certain that it’s enough?


The disciples want to know where their place will be in Jesus’ kingdom. They’re kind of obsessed with it.

Jesus offers them assurances that if they devote their entire lives to following him, if they give it all up –  their comfort, their status, their traditional roles, their constructed identities – that they will have a hundred fold in the Kingdom of heaven.

What’s a little comfort in exchange for eternal life, right? The catch being, that the last will be first and the first will be last.

That is the gist of this parable: the last will be first and the first will be last. Or in other words, God is going to do it God’s way.

Maybe this was the biggest rub for them and maybe it’s the biggest rub for us.

God does what God wants and we’re not God. God has God’s work, and it’s not ours to do.

I look at this list, and in truth, I don’t know what the rub is for you. I can guess that, if you’re at all present to what’s happening in the world today, that there is a rub. There is something you’re struggling with. There has been for me, and I don’t really have a fully formed, well-articulated message to bring this Sunday about how to make sense of the mess we’re in together.

But what I’ve got is that God has God’s work and we have ours, and we would do well to remember the difference.

A couple years back I wrote a song that has been on my mind this week. It’s got a little more meat on it than this homily of mine, so I thought I’d sing it for you as part of my reflection. I thought it may speak to the meaning of this parable and this experience of the present moment we’re having together.

That’s God’s Job

Ain’t nobody here got they own salvation
Own salvation
We all tied up in the one salvation
One salvation
Everybody here is a child worth saving
Child worth saving
Cause we all tied up in the one salvation
One salvation

God will give you reason
God will give you patience
God will give you wisdom
God will do the saving
Cause that’s God’s job
That’s God’s job
That’s God’s job
That’s God’s job

Ain't nobody here got a perfect record
Perfect record
So lay them stones down, honey, take a second
Take a second
Who among us here wanna claim perfection
Claim perfection
Lay them stones down, honey, take a second
Take a second

God will give you reason
God will give you patience
God will give you wisdom
God will do the saving
Cause that’s God’s job
That’s God’s job
That’s God’s job
That’s God’s job

That’s God’s job. And we have ours.

What if the wages we receive for doing the work that God has given us to do create a new, long list of things to replace the list of 2020’s greatest hits?

What if the wages are the fruits of the spirit?

Love
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
and
Temperance

What if God’s job, as revealed in Scripture, to provide us these things, to give our daily bread; is to search us out – each one of us – regardless of whether or not we’ve decided that we, or our neighbor, are worthy to be found?

And maybe these things God provides – reason, wisdom, patience – maybe God provides them just one day at a time.

Maybe, in that way, they’re like sobriety, which folks in recovery know isn’t something you get to carry over from one day to the next. Each day you start again, leaning on God to provide you what you need to make it through that day.

Reason. Wisdom. Patience. Sobriety.

Daily Bread.

Imagine for a moment that the entire Church understood that we’re all in need of that kind of recovery, and that the only one who could make our recovery possible is God.

And imagine that that is a job God is willing and able to do.

Amen.

Comments

What if God’s job is to give our daily bread; to search us out – each one of us – regardless of whether we think we're worthy to be found?

Tags