Everything feels tricky at the moment. Family is tricky, our leadership priorities at St Philips are tricky, the YouthCARE Chaplains’ Board is tricky, people in business say life is tricky, politics is really tricky. Have you ever noticed how life can seem so tricky that you just want to get off? I can be tempted to see it all as so complicated that I just think up ways to absolve myself and disappear out the back way.
Just so NOT Jesus’ way of doing anything that mattered. I mean, Jesus took responsibility for the sin of the whole world. He really didn’t have to do that. He could have just said, “Too hard!” and planned another cosmic holiday with his Dad . . . couldn’t he? No, in fact he couldn’t. He knew he was sent for this. He knew that this was his destiny. Just as I know that my tiny, tricky little issues are mine.
I can hear the famous verse now, “Seek first to avoid anything tricky or costly and you can sneak out the back door and not be noticed”, [Malc 6:33].
Real solid steps take commitment and graft. Watch a mountain climber at altitude some time.
I remember John Macpherson saying how in his professional life he was thrilled to finish his career having finalised a project that had taken years. “Years!” I thought, “Wow! Years.” That’s crazy. But no, the ‘real things’ take a lot of work and often take a long time and many, many small careful steps.
Jesus’ work took his whole life and then cost him his life. Is what I am prioritising worth my whole life, even if it costs me my life?
Which brings me to Mother Theresa. In our Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Devotion on the day of writing [Week 7 Day 3], she is referenced, and I quote the section in full:
“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I only look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. Just one, one, one. You get closer to Christ by coming closer to each other. As Jesus said, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.’ So you begin…..I begin. I picked up one person……. The whole work is only a drop in the ocean. But if we don’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less. Same thing for you. Same thing in your family. Same thing in the church where you go. Just begin…..one, one, one……… At the end of our lives we will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.’”
Ignore the trickiness, don’t do a runner, take responsibility, break it down and take the next step well. That’s the pathway to resurrection, even if you die along the way.