Text: Lauren Franklin-Steinmetz
I recently read Love Does, a 2012 collection of essays by Christian attorney and philanthropist Bob Goff.
One phrase particularly struck me and I have mulled it over and over again: “Sometimes He [God] invites us to leave perfectly fine careers…and rather than having us apply for a position, He says our lives are the position.” (emphasis mine)
Goff is talking here about a successful colleague of his who unexpectedly quit his job in order to work toward justice for children in Uganda, as well as other humanitarian work. The story was told as one of many illustrations of the book’s primary theme: putting love into action and living a fully engaged life.
This idea resonated with me because I know it is far too easy to fall into the temptation to believe that when we have finally achieved something – getting into a certain orchestra, playing a certain concert, being published, having one’s work displayed in a particular gallery, etc. – that then, then! we will be able to be generous and kind to others, to serve at church, to spend time with someone that needs a listening ear, or anything else we know we should be doing but don’t make time for.
Or maybe you say that you will practice hospitality when you have a nicer home, or that you will make time for prayer when you are not so busy.
There are often many good reasons to do something or not, and wisdom and prayer must be exercised when making decisions about how to use our time. But the danger I’m talking about is the one where we live in a fantasy tomorrow that never arrives; the mythical place and time in which we will find it easy and convenient to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
But as Emily Dickinson famously penned, “Forever is composed of Nows.” If we really believe that today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2), then we have work to do today.
Wherever you are NOW, whichever phase of life, whatever your personal and professional responsibilities, that is the position. That’s the gig. That’s your life.
The moments you spent patiently helping a child learning how to read music today? That’s the position. That’s where you glorify God and love your neighbor today. It’s sacred.
When you played that concert that made you feel so fulfilled and you got lots of applause? That’s the gig, too. It’s sacred.
So is faithfully sitting with your laptop, whether the words flow or you stare in frustration at a blank document.
Maybe you could barely touch your instrument today because you were caring for an elderly relative, and you’re feeling a little lost. That’s the position. It’s sacred.
When you helped set up chairs at church, when you did the laundry so that your family had clean clothes, when you washed your roommate’s breakfast dishes to make her day a little easier, that’s the position.
Most of us will not be called to do big, crazy things in order to fulfill our callings. For most of us, it will be to work diligently at our art, to love and serve those around us in the simplest and most mundane of ways, and to follow God humbly.
But when you do that minute by minute, day in and day out, your nows turn into forever. And your life turns into what Eugene Peterson so eloquently calls, “a long obedience in the same direction”.
We will strive for greater things and hope for a better tomorrow. But we mustn’t forget that today is made up of moments that are heavy with the weight of eternity. You can only do the job you have right now – it’s impossible to do the job you might one day have.
And, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
Lord, thank you for today and for the good work you have given me to do. Give me a grateful and obedient heart, and open my eyes to see what you would have me to do today. Prosper the work of my hands (Psalm 90:17).