There are some days when I am stressed out and in a hurry to finish things and my hurry and stress are usually obvious in my tone of voice and the speed with which I talk and my propensity to fly off the handle. I have decent self-management skills, most of the time, but I am currently piecing together several part-time gigs, which means some weeks I don’t have enough to do and other weeks I have a lot of deadlines.
On those occasions, there may be moments in which I sound a bit hysterical.
In Luke 12, Jesus sounds like me on a deadline. Maybe multiple deadlines. The chapter gathers a string of parables and conversations, then ends with a vision of families torn apart by the disruption he brings. It’s clear he is feeling the tension of trying to get his message across and worrying that no one will understand, and soon it will be too late. Deadline is a literal term when applied to his story.
And really, it is in ours, too.
Just to be sure we don’t miss it, Jesus tells us the take of the guy who builds bigger and bigger barns for his enormous harvest.
“Then he thought, Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. That’s where I’ll store all my grain and goods. I’ll say to myself, You have stored up plenty of goods, enough for several years. Take it easy! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. But God said to him, ‘Fool, tonight you will die. Now who will get the things you have prepared for yourself?’ This is the way it will be for those who hoard things for themselves and aren’t rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21, CEB)
The rest of the chapter makes clear that hanging onto earthly wealth is not what God wants for us. We need to be alert for God, not attached to our possessions, confident that God will care for us, and ready to be separated from our families because we follow Jesus.
I’ve spent the past 24 hours with a group of women considering whether they are called by God to ordained ministry. RevGalBlogPals partnered with the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia to make this possible, and we are so grateful to LTSP for their great hospitality. Participants are staying on campus for free and being fed, too. I helped gather a panel of powerhouse clergywomen to talk about their call stories and answer questions from those considering seminary.
The things we talked about came down to the same essentials: keep an ear out for what God is doing; be ready to make all the changes necessary to follow a call; trust that somehow God will make sense out of no sense; and remember that not all relatives/friends will be supportive when they hear the news.
I hope we offered encouragement without sugarcoating anything.
Mostly I want to say, life is short and time goes by quickly. As the man with the barns discovered, a plan for the future can’t protect us from death, isn’t enough to overcome having a human body, prone to failing.
Knowing that, how much more important is it to use the time we have faithfully?
Holy One, I pray for all women who are considering their calls to ministry. Help them to see where you are moving in their lives, and to answer with courage and commitment to you. Amen.
I’m reading and blogging about Luke for Lent. Want to read along? The full schedule can be found here.