I have recently started going to a spiritual director (a mix between a pastor and a counselor who encourages me to look and listen more carefully for God's voice and hopefully provides some added insights along the way). Her recommendation for this week as I look to offer myself grace (definition: the unmerited, yet abundant love, goodness, blessing of God; read: patience, forgiveness, props for a job well done) was to read the passage about the workers of the field Matthew 20
The following is my musing on said passage: The loudest voice that I hear from this passage is that of those who came first. I hear the veteran members of the chuch fussing that they are tired and don't want to do more or that it is time for the yonger/newer membes to do their part. I hear them piping up not at the time of payment necessarily rather in the late hours of the work day, when the latecomers arrive. "Oh good, there's new help here, they can do the work." And yet, that's not how the story goes--the newbies aren't there to offer a reprieve and take over. They are there to work alongside as there is clearly still more work to be done. It's the same for us in the church, there is still more work to be done. There are still those who are hungry, illiterate, homeless, seeking someone who will listen to their heart and tend to their souls. If those who started early quit now when the others arrive, we won't actually make progress because no new areas will be tilled or planted or harvested....as my dad once said, "I don't think there's retirement when it comes to the church and doing ministry."
And as I look for the message for me, I hear that I'm sent either to work alongside or to till new fields but not to take over the work of others. That seems to be the boundary issue I'm dealing with right now. I feel like I should be tilling *new fields* but others keep trying to hand me their tools and responsibilities. And in my co-dependent glory, in many cases, I take them. Growing edge #1
As for the wages, I can see myself at both ends of the spectrum, on the one end I am with the early folks and want more than my due--I want a huge harvest with many fruits and yet I've only been able to do so much planting. And on the other end, with the 11th hour folks--I refuse to accept the grace given to me because I haven't earned it. How ironic--we can NEVER earn grace, and yet, I don't want to claim it until I feel worthy enough to deserve it.
On Grey's Anatomy the other night, when I watched for the first time ever, they showed this resident whose fiance had died and left her an inheritance of some $8.4 million. She definitely didn't feel worthy of such an extravagant gift and so she refused to cash the check. I feel like her--refusing to cash my grace check until I feel worthy enough of such generosity. Even still, the foreshadowed storyline indicated she would use the money to help others (specifically a young woman with super-severe scoliosis). So in a sense, she isn't even receiving the gift for her own self, rather only for those around her. I have an uncanny habit of doing the same, receiving grace not for my own sake, but so that others may experience it. Oh to hear the good news for myself! Growing edge #2