“There’s nothing to do.”
“How come we never do anything fun?”
Maybe that’s right after we got back from vacation, having broken the bank to go to the amusement park. Maybe the kids had a meltdown with the Mickey ears on, right in the middle of the midway.
We were so looking forward to summer. We couldn’t wait to get out of school, or for things to lighten up at work. We were excited for the busy seasons to give way to a time for barbecues and camping out. Now though, maybe whining starts. Parents start longing for the fall. Someone should come take the kids away.
Even if it’s not as bad as all that, is that how we think of it? Is that what we focus on and talk about? Maybe we dwell on it because we’re bitter and ungrateful. Maybe we dwell on it and talk about it for a laugh. Maybe that’s good! Laughter – especially being able to laugh at ourselves – is a healthy thing. Or maybe it’s not good if it sends a message to our loved ones that they’re a burden.
The truth is, our life takes its shape and meaning and purpose through these callings of ours. Without these people in our lives and our callings to serve them, our life would be formless and void (Genesis 1). As it is, like the water greens up the lawn and causes flowers and vegetables to grow and then the rabbits come to eat everything so you have to chase them away, everything works together in a wonderful plan from God that gives life direction. Life has a focus because of the people in it. We’re here to help and serve them. They in turn are there for us.
It’s good! Even when it gets messy. Even when we bought ice-cream and it landed cone-side up on the pavement. Even when the tears come because the cone-side-up ice cream was ours.
We don’t live this life all that gracefully. We certainly don’t do it perfectly. The salvation of the whole messy thing is Jesus, who brings His perfection and grace to it. He did all things well. Though He did nothing wrong, He offered Himself to pay for the sins we somehow can’t stop committing – even if we want to. He forgives us the wrong we have done – all of it. That’s what we need and gather around, Sunday by Sunday.
Then He sends us back, giving us as a gift the work He wants us to do in these families and clans, neighborhoods and workplaces, churches and homes of ours. There, the Lord Jesus says: “Love one another… as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
“Love one another!” – that command we had from the start. “As I have loved you” – that brings Jesus into it, where the love He has for all people extends to them through you. All of this is by grace, through faith. And just another one of the reasons for His welcome call, “Come Unto Me!”.