It’s hard not to measure life. In specifics. For the minister, how many new members? For the members what does 10% really mean? For the politicians [thought yesterday in watching some of the Oscars…”Is there anything in life that isn’t political?”] how many votes and endorsements and contributions?
For many of us, certainly I’m not excluded, how much weight should be lost? Or how many children can we feed through contributions? [On that, a plug for Margaret Trost and the What If? Foundation. Amazing. In April they will dedicate a new building for the children of Haiti…for education and meals and training for the future. The building cost $1 million and it is paid for. THAT is a measurement worth celebrating…go, Margaret!]
Measuring. I knew a minister [yes, they do come into one’s life once in a while] who couldn’t stop chortling over the seminary from which this minister graduated and then made good on the mantra that the ministers who are effective are never democratic. Sigh.
Triggering the measurement question I came today upon Tom Ehrich…and one sentence got my attention about which I don’t agree. It goes like this:
“God expected the Israelites to remember their story – the creed of Deuteronomy 26 – and to remember that the grain they grew in Canaan was God’s providence, not their excellence.”
Yes, it’s probably right, as in correct. But what tugs for me is that not everything that happens is the agency of God.
If that’s the case…and a nod of appreciation to Doug Meeks who taught me more than twenty years ago that to be “be made in the image of God” [See early Genesis] means we are “authorized to represent God.” So. Our excellence matters.
For me that means a partnership. That means my excellence counts. That means I am called [an invitation not an obligation] to give my fullest. “Compromise” is not included. God doesn’t compromise. Nor should we.
So I ask…as we start a new week. I ask in this time called Lent, when we are to examine who and whose we are, when we are to consider the ways in which we stumble and it’s really our fault, when we are to consider what can we do, which includes but is more than prayer, to bring excellence.
That comes from the heart…and the soul…and the awareness that God doesn’t force us, God invites us to make good on the covenant, that we each give our best and fullest for the good of the relationship. Yes, God is excellent. But, our excellence counts. Our excellence matters. And it may happen, when we do something that brings life or goodness or hope or grace to another, we play an important role.