Sunday, April 29, 2018

A person's job

          Our church volunteered at Convoy of Hope this weekend.  At one point, I was part of a group of people who were collecting, tying, organizing food bags to give away.  One of the other volunteers was a young boy (10 years old, maybe?) who was there with his father.  While working, the father said to the boy, "If you don't do well in school, this will be your job!"
        Sometimes my internal filter doesn't work very well, so out of my mouth pops, "If you do do well in school, this will be your job!"  The people around me didn't understand, and I realized I hadn't phrased it well, so a number of folk jumped all over me. I tried to explain, but everyone was very defensive, so I dropped it.  It wasn't that important to me to be "right" in that moment.  I did find it ironic that they were left with the impression that I don't value education. I didn't give my credentials: somehow that felt like bragging, which I didn't believe would be helpful. Still, those who know me know that everything about my own achievements through education says that I deeply value education. You all know that the idea that I would in any way underestimate the importance of education is ludicrous, to say the least.
       At the same time, I stick to what I said: no matter what your education level, no matter what you have accomplished in life, no matter how well you do in school or how far you go in education, who you are, what your rank is, or how much money you make: this work is your job.  What I mean by that is that the most important, most valued call that we all have is to care for one another, to be available to one another, to feed those who need some help.  The "job" that God gives us is always the same: to love one another as we love ourselves.  That means feeding one another as we feed ourselves, caring for one another as we care for ourselves.  We are terrible, absolutely terrible as a species, as a unified group, at this particular job.  I know extremely few people who are willing to house others to the same degree and with the same kind of housing that they house themselves.  I know very few others who are willing to feed the same luxurious meals to others as they feed their own families.  I know one or two, out of my total acquaintance, who would send a homeless family on the same kind of vacations that they regularly pay for for themselves.  We just don't do this.  But it is our job.  And it is the most important job we will ever have.