It is as if a man who is travelling abroad had left his house and handed it over to be managed by his servants. He has given each one his work to do and has ordered the doorkeeper to be on the lookout for his return. Mark 12:34-35
…the work He has given me to do…
I woke up with a start again this morning, even though my alarm wasn’t set. And I really have the most dreary set of dreams, no splashing in tropical waterfalls, for instance. And what my pre-alert mind was mulling over was the idea of one who lives righteously. And while there is no not one, deep down in the quiet of its heart, the world absolutely recognizes one who does the work he have been given, and stands back in quiet awe. The same sort of recognition as that of Christ, in response to the pagan centurion: He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith."
And I went to sleep in the hammock under the stars last night, reading last week’s The Week, which means that the news is at least two weeks old, which is sort of comforting because it means that we survived it all. And I drifted off reading about “the slow and seemingly unstoppable reach of tyranny,” which seems pretty appropriate because yesterday I had also read the last chapter of Animal Farm out loud in a clear measured voice to a pindrop quiet class of high school students. After showing yet another video clip from Venezuela, but it could have been any number of headlines, from any number of places in the world, because nation will take up arms against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in different places and terrible famines. But this is only the beginnings of the pains.
Yet there are the glimmers of lit candles in the darkened pages of The Week… for instance a schoolmaster and devout Catholic who repeatedly refused to join the Nazi party, drawing strength from a short Gospel passage about not bending: “Even if all the others do, not I.”
And I am reminded that it is not so much what the work is that I must do, but how I do it. And it seems that quietly going about one’s business is the best approach.
- Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
- If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
- Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
- As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
- Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
Let me do that which is for me to do, to saw the wood stacked by the door, so to speak. With a light heart, yet alert to His return. Because it matters. Righteousness matters. For yet another centurion noticed, and praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man."
May I walk in His footsteps.