Thursday, 18 August 2022

We can only do our best, then wait...

AS I was waiting the other day for the diocesan advisory committee to arrive at Shiplake church for a site meeting (this is a select group of people which advises churches on how maintenance work and improvements to church buildings are carried out while protecting the historic fabric of the building itself), I took the opportunity to sit on the bench (despite the cold) just outside the church overlooking the beautiful valley and the River Thames.

This was a really rare opportunity for me to sit and just enjoy the countryside but while waiting I was struck with the thought of waiting and what that means in today’s times.

In times past we lived our lives so much more slowly, having to walk or ride everywhere, so that we could not possibly fit into each day what we do now.

For example, the day I sat at Shiplake I had already done collective worship at Shiplake school, visited two parishioners and nipped over to Dunsden church to check the whereabouts of a service book that was needed for the upcoming Sunday.

How could this have been done in the past?

The answer, of course, is that it could not have happened. I might have managed the morning collective worship and perhaps one visit, but then that would have been the day completed.

But in all this rushing around do we miss out on things? Do we achieve more? Are we more fulfilled in life? Are we spreading the Good News of the Gospel further each day?

I think not. We might feel and think that we are achieving more, but the reality is often that we should in fact have done less better and then, ironically, we might just have achieved more.

We hear so often that modern society is in such a mess, that we have never had it so bad (to paraphrase the correct saying) but at a meeting of the same week in question we were given several examples of complaints from churchwardens from the 1500s about the state of their church buildings, the lack of a priest for their church and the lack of money to effect repairs on both the rectory and the church.

There was even an example of the wardens questioning the fact that they did not think their priest was in fact in Holy Orders at all and that he could not produce documentation when asked.

Nothing is new under the sun.

We can only do our best, we can only do our best with what we have, with what we currently know, and then all we can do is leave everything else to God.

And that is really what I thought about on the bench at Shiplake, that we can only ever do our best, that is all that is required of us, all that is expected, and then we are expected to wait... to wait and see what God does with our work, our gifts, our lives.

So I do encourage you to take some time out, to wait on God and see what it is that he is wanting you to do with your lives for his sake.

You might just be surprised by what happens.

Yours, waiting in Christ.

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