Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little… enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:21
Absurd? Yes and no. The church has its share of people who itch for the big time in the “tent of the meeting.” They watch the star “performers” – trained speakers, talented singers, and gifted artists – with secret envy. If only they had been given a deeper voice or a higher education; if only the staff were less cliquish; if only the soloist caught a brief cold… Absurd? Yes. The litany of complaints needs to reflect the church more charitably. Here goes: If only God did not have chronically understaffed Sunday schools! If only He had regular rides for seniors and hot meals for shut-ins! If only God had men in the church nursery, with laps and hugs for little ones! If only God had a whole lot more of the “faithful-over-a-little” people!
The parables of talents and pounds (Luke 19:11-27) alike make it painfully clear that God has entrusted to each and every one some kind of stewardship. Why search high and low for the goose that lays the golden egg when we practically trip over the elephant in our path? Yes, “show biz” is wonderful when we take pride in our seemingly small part … because our faithfulness lights up God’s face to the applause of His angels! (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: Don’t sign up for the devil’s Guilt Trip he’s so anxious to pitch, throwing in extras such as self-loathing and resentment. The God who loves cheerful givers is not after cheerless workers. Still, the rub for me is how do you define joy, especially the “master’s”? My instincts as a “word hound” are to sniff out thesaurus and Bible dictionary for clues. My faith practice tells me to “bathe” the text in the living waters of the Spirit and check for bubbles that rise to the surface. Brace yourself for toilet water bubbly with Clorox powder.
On the Sunday of my last writing stint in the desert in the early 80s, I got up for worship at six, intending to draft one more devotion before driving home. Fixing breakfast, I noticed cat hair left by the owner’s “fur babies” and decided to quickly run the vacuum cleaner. Alas, it was a useless clunker and I wound up brushing off carpet and upholstery by hand for two hours. While taking a bathroom break, I realized the toilet could use a thorough scrubbing. Kneeling in front of it around nine, I joked with the Lord about missing church, but being in the “throne zone” in Cathedral City. Almost instantly, I found myself flooded with an indescribable joy. It flowed from Christ’s love in sacred profusion and greased my happy elbows to produce a sparkling condo throne. To this day I still think of it as my holiest worship experience ever. I doubt that my hostess had even noticed a change, but when a street ministry in Hollywood needed help with housekeeping, I joyfully offered to clean toilets. It was there that a visitor came to chat and I was suddenly asked to lead Bible studies instead. Matthew 25