I awake but refuse to get up immediately. The house is quiet, except for the soft noise of the tv from the basement, signaling that at least one of my children has risen early on this free Friday. The tinkle of a tiny bell comes from the kitchen; the cat is on the move. That was an interesting idea MJ had, to attach a small bell to the collar. At least I always know where the cats.
The lady upstairs is yelling at her children, or perhaps her boyfriend this time. The sound of boots clomping across the floor confirms that her anger is aimed at the boyfriend. Soon the thunderous foot steps of her boys will fill my quiet house.
The deadened sound of car doors opening and closing makes it way through my closed windows. Lately the nights have been cooling off, to the point that I am now forced to sleep with my windows closed again. It dampens the sound of the waking neighbourhood put the sound of cars moving up the street tells me that the race to beat rush hour has begun. A wave of pleasure washes over me as I enjoy the feeling of my day off; no rushing anywhere. It a while the awakening will be over and I will be left with my quiet house in my quiet neighbourhood.
This is when the thought strikes. It is the thought that strikes every time I am left with some quiet thoughts about the life that is surrounding me. People are living and dying around me every day. They are living and dying in ignorance of the truth of the complexities all around them. They are living in a state of separateness from their Father without even realizing their loss. They are ignorant of this fact but not innocent. Something inside of them whispers that there is more than what they are living; more than what they are seeing; more than what they are feeling. They are ignorant but I am not. This is where the thought needles my consciousness; the thought that prompts me to consider my own life and actions; the insistent thought that wears on me like a steady, slow moving stream.
Are we doing enough?
There it is; written out on my computer screen, staring back at me, begging to be answered. Listening to the life around me, awakening from its night of slumber, I wonder if we are doing enough to awaken it from its spiritual slumber. Without a doubt my life is full and it is busy but as I listen I can't help but wonder if it is busy with the right stuff; stuff that would please Jesus. Are my choices the right choices, ones that give priority to God and people? Am I busy with what I think Dad wants or with the things I know he wants because Jesus made it plan to us?
As I roll to my side and grab my Bible, I open it and consider the text for this morning. I laugh as I am confronted by the fact that Jesus was a very busy man too:
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. (Matthew 9:35)
It always struck me that in all his busyness Jesus was never occupied by his own needs. I see this busyness and then I read about his motivation for it:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
Jesus' motivation was a compassion that flowed from a heart of love. He did what he did in obedience to his Father but even that was motivated by love. Jesus wanted to reach everyone, heal everyone, bless everyone, save everyone. The work was huge because the need was huge. So Jesus told his followers:
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matthew 9:37-38)
Is the need any less in the age in which we walk this planet? With so many billions of people, with so much suffering and death, with such a need for healing, with such an outcry for salvation, how could I ever think that the need is less? Is this question being prompted by the convulsing crowds of hungry and desperate people? Is this what it feels like when compassion claws at becoming the priority of the heart? Am I doing enough? Am I doing anything at all?
The tv is getting louder. A sign that that another of my children as awake. A scream! Yup, they are all waking up now.
It is nice to have a day off, to enjoy my children, to run some errands, to prepare for my marriage but can the world afford it? As the noise of life increases around me so does the pressing awareness of the mission I have been given, that we have all been given. Yes, let's pray for more workers but let us pray that the workers we have will realize the immediate needs that are surrounding us. Let us begin by asking for an increase of love for the lost, for people, for the objects of our Father's affection and let us measure our priorities according to this love and our mission. There is so much for us to do and a lot less time to get it done. We should heed Jesus' warning to us, his professed followers:
Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. (Mark 13:33-36)
I roll to the edge of my bed and sit up, letting my feet down on the cool floor. I hear the door close as the neighbour leaves for the day. With the nagging question on my mind I set my heart to one simple truth; it's time to get moving!