In the common lectionary of the church, we are in the year of Luke. Luke’s gospel addresses the issue of communities of faith maturing into faithful mission and service to the world.
It doesn’t take very long before anyone who attempts service and mission to the world to discover how difficult and often frustrating the work is. We make mistakes. Our expectations are too high, or misinformed. The response to our best efforts may be tepid; or, our best efforts may even be rejected. And if there is a positive response to what we have done, we then long for more of the same and become impatient with the ordinariness of our service.
The slog of mission and service can be joyful and mature only if we have patience. Bonhoeffer points out in, A Testament to Freedom, that faith and patience are closely related. He says that the “freer we are from ease and indolence and personal claims, the more ready we shall be for patience.” And, I would add, the more ready we are to receive joy in the midst of even the most challenging enterprise in the name of Christ.
“But as for [the seeds] in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.” Luke 8:15
Pray for the willingness to resign as general manager of the universe.
Pastor David Mullen, Bishop Emeritus of the Sierra Pacific Synod