Once again I’m moving. It seems to be a habit started in college and one that keeps me from hoarding too much because when you have to pack up and move (even if it is just across town) every year or so you try to slim down your belongings. I’m not saying I’m down to 3 bins and a suitcase just yet but the moving seems to satisfy my gypsy soul and keep my belongings down to a comfortable minimum.
I enjoy the chance to reminisce as I pack up things and remember past moves and stages of growth in my life. Sometimes it is a matter of “out with the old and in with the new”, but sometimes it is an act of preservation. Packing up my books and photo albums or other sentimental things is always a mixed bag of emotions. Cleaning out stuff I’ve held onto needlessly is so cleansing and refreshing. Sometimes I’ve preserved things I should have cleared out a long time ago and sometimes I’ve gotten rid of things I wish I’d kept. The best thing is noticing the changes and stages of growth. The things I keep and the things I toss are not limited to my physical belongings. Packing is a mental game as well. As I box and bag and throw out things I review ideals and opinions I’ve kept, altered or removed. I left High School wide eyed and certain of the fact that my strong opinions on the world were right and would always be so. Moving to a new town has a way of dropping you and your opinions on your head. College was fantastic for that as well as the many jobs I worked after High School. I’ve learned it is better to claim to know nothing and look to be taught by what God is doing than to claim to know where He is headed and start down a road He isn’t on. It stinks for planning because when you don’t know where you are headed how can you be prepared? It does teach you to learn from every moment and to open your eyes to the bigger story. I graduated in ’07 with a plan to save and change the world, to leave my mark. I graduated in ’11 with no real plan but to follow where God leads and an understanding that no one really knows what they are going to do or make of themselves. Ministry has graciously robbed me of my ideal plans in which I am the hero. At times it is hard to be satisfied with knowing I am not the star of my very own Truman Show, but then so often it is shockingly refreshing.
A month or so ago I stumbled upon this beautifully accurate description of what we are to be about, not just those who work in a defined and organized ministry, but as followers of Christ. Archbishop Oscar Romero brought some of the realizations and floating thoughts in my head to come in clearer. I’m not sure it could be said any better:
“It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts: it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No sermon says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. That is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted knowing they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that affects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very, very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the Master Builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.”
It is my prayer that this clarity of purpose becomes the soil in which all my efforts are grown.
“We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.”