I remember hearing about an old comic strip back in the days of St. Ed's. Two guys are talking to eachother, and one of them says he has a question for God. He wants to ask why God allows all of this poverty and war and suffering to exist in the world. And his friend asks, " Well, why don't you ask?". The fellow shakes his head and says that he is scared. When his friend asks why, he mutters, "I'm scared God will ask me the same question." Over and over, when I ask God how all these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, I can feel the Spirit whisper to me, "You tell me why we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet." ~ Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, p. 64-65
When I read that passage from Shane Claiborne I was instantly reminded of Luke:2 where it says:
2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Are you a laborer for God? Do you help spread His light and love throughout your home, throughout your community, perhaps even throughout the world? Lifting up those that you are able to lift up? Encouraging? Helping to build the Kingdom right here on earth? Or do you grumble instead at the injustices that surround you...the pain, the suffering? Instead of lifting up your spade to turn over the earth and plant seeds of Spirit, you watch others, or perhaps don't even watch at all, consumed in your own existence and not concerned about the broader picture?
I have to admit, I've been less of a laborer and more of a bench warmer. But I've felt God stirring my heart considerably lately, and books like Shane's as well as through prayer and just reading through the Bible, have led me to acknowledge that if I am to have a genuine faith, things have got to change.
I'd encourage us all to pray for the Spirit to direct us towards new ways of serving God and helping work against the suffering and pain in this world. Let's become laborers for Christ. Let's lift up our hoes and rakes and turn over the soils of injustice and sow seeds that will bear great fruit for His Kingdom. Let's walk the walk of faith and approach this world with love and compassion and interest like Christ did. He went among the most marginalized and came with healing and love.
Sometimes it doesn't seem like my current circumstances allow me to serve God effectively and that can be discouraging. I don't feel like I have the money, the means, the way to go out and do the things I'd like to do to help others. But to do nothing is the goal of the enemy and the lie that because of our circumstances, whether they be circumstances of limited time, limited income or limited ability, that we can't labor for God and help others, is nothing but a false illusion. Sometimes, even from a little, a lot can spring up and be born. Look at the mustard seed...one of the smallest seeds out there...when watered and nourished and allowed to grow, it grows to a tremendous size.
Some encouraging and inspiring words from Mother Teresa about this quandary some of us find ourselves in:
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
So even if you aren't at the point where you can go out and volunteer, engaging yourself in the ministries that seem to draw you to them, you can still start laboring for God right now. There's no better time then the present moment.
Let's be laborers!
Thank you so much for your son Jesus, who you sent to us to become a living example of purity, of compassion, of love. Without Jesus, there would be no redemption, there would be no hope. Thank you for your great mercy and love for our Savior.
May the Spirit usher us forward to a new understanding of what it means to serve you. May you draw us closer inward as we express the character of Christ more and more outward. May we get off our spiritual benches which have collected dust, and pick up our spades, rakes and hoes which have become rusty and get back in the field and labor for you. May we help turn pain into healing, suffering into relief, despair into hope. May our lives glorify you while we bring your message of redemption and hope into this dark and fallen world. We praise you, we glorify you and we seek you always with humble hearts always lifted towards your throne. Direct us in ways we can serve you and give us the ways and means so that we can bear fruit for your Kingdom.
In the name of Jesus,