From the Pastor’s Pen

“Do not work for the food that perishes but work for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” John 6:27

Do you remember your first paying job? At fifteen, I became a table runner for King’s Food Host, schlepping foot long hot dogs, onion rings and cheese Frenchees to tables. Guests called in their orders through black telephones located in every booth, and I brought them out to the tables when they were ready.

Every Friday night I would overhear the voice of one lone man, patiently telling an adolescent girl taking orders through her headset, how to make an iced coffee. Long before Starbucks, no one had ever heard of such a thing. “First you take a milk shake sized paper cup and fill it to the brim with ice,” he said. “Then you make a cup of hot, black coffee. Put the usual amount of cream in the coffee, and then pour it over the ice and bring it to me.”  Occasionally the employee would respond as if he were requesting a special order in Mandarin Chinese, and the man would utter politely, “Simply bring the ice, the coffee and the cream and I would be happy to make it myself!”

It occurs to me that what we remember most about Jesus isn’t his first job, perhaps delivering unleavened bread made by his mother to the neighbors, or even his second job. We can only speculate, but it seems to me that Jesus, as the oldest son, may have run the family business after Joseph died, until one of his younger brothers grew old enough to take over. We know that Jesus was in his late twenties when his ministry began, and we know that his father isn’t mentioned past his adolescent years. This would have been the typical pattern for a middle-eastern family at that time.

The most enduring and faithful work for any of us, may come at any stage of life. God creates each of us with meaning and purpose, with work that is ours to do for the sake of God’s plans and God’s people. We sometimes receive hints and signs, God moments that reveal to us that we’re the right person, doing the right work, at the right time. But not always. Sometimes it is only in hindsight, decades after the fact, that a former student calls, or that a note finds it’s way to our mailbox, when we hear the impact of our work on others over time.

I’m curious about the work that God has placed before you right now. How do you imagine that God will use you today to fulfill God’s purposes in the world? Pause for a moment in your daily occupations as you consider this. Breathe deeply for a moment. Ask God what God wants you to know and understand about your purpose, or what God hopes you will experience through the tasks for which you were chosen this day.

Prayer: For just today, reveal to me O God, the work you have set before me. Help me to engage it and others faithfully, that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Verlee