Oktoberfest 2009 was a hit! Our attendance doubled from last year, the food was great, and there was nary a hitch. I was worried the day before when I saw that the city was hosting a ‘Fest the night before ours. Not to slight that one, but two separate people told me yesterday that folks who went to the first came craving for a second on Saturday and enjoyed ours immensely. What can I say? Redeemer folks know how to get together and make something happen when they want to.
I’m still looking at a very long month of activities with a stewardship Sunday, LWML Sunday, Reformation Sunday/Annual Voter’s Meeting, a trip out of town to see a convalescing member, our Pastor’s Conference next week (and a sermon still to prepare for that), plus the usual run of meetings, hospital and shut-in calls, bible study preps and so forth. Did I mention my folks returning to finish the first half of the kitchen remodel?
At this rate, Advent will seem to be a restful time!
But I’m wondering if I should push the “Publish” button. Often I hear pastors remark about how “busy” they are. Sometimes it sounds boastful to me. Other times it appears like a justifying remark. I think for many people we find our value and sense of self-worth in how busy we are: “See, look at how valuable I am! I’m always working! Don’t fire me!”
Sometimes it’s more innocent. Sometimes we report it in order to share…but often the busyness boast is a boast, a boast born from fear. It is fear. Fear of what others think, fear of what might happen, fear of losing what we have. Fear of being sidelined, of being rejected.
The cure for fear is not in the stiff upper lip, in manufacturing feelings of confidence and bravery. The cure for this sort of fear is embracing your inadequacy. The cure is in admitting that yes, you are a lazy sod who would destroy it all if left to your own devices. It is in admitting that whatever you put your hand to will not be perfect, that we really are pretty poor workers and producers, writers and technicians.
If it sounds like admitting your own weakness and decrepitude, a lot like repentance, you’d be right. It is. The first step to curing this kind of fear is the same as curing all kinds of fear: we are sinful people who are losing the most important of things. But we cannot stop here. If we were to stop here at only admitting our own crapulence, I’m afraid that our crapulence would take over, and we really would become lazy, careless slobs in all that we do. We need a second step.
That second step to curing the fear of “not being busy” is to embrace your vocation. While I would mess all things up (and frequently do) if on my own, I am doing the work God has given me to do, as we all are. Whether president or mother, teacher or engineer, pastor or retiree, we can be certain that God has placed us where we are, and that this is His will, at least for today. God has given your work to you, your gifts and abilities, your time and your energy, your will and vocation. It is a valuable thing because it is from the Lord. While you have bosses and supervisors to answer to, ultimately you have the same boss that I have: the God who is love. He is the one to please, honor and cherish. We do our work for Him, in thanksgiving, and with His help. This truth not only brings comfort, knowing that our time is not being wasted, that we are doing good work God has given us to do, but it also serves as holy motivation to excel, to improve in your skills and abilities, to work. We work to please God and to honor Him.