“I want to be part of something big”, These are words I found written in my journal in 1990. I had just started a new job at a church in St. Cloud, MN. I was an idealist. I had a passion for social justice. I loved the kids put in my care. I was doing work that had the potential to break forth into something big. I had the good fortune to meet face to face people who were making a distinct mark on the world. Here is the total of what I wrote that February day 30 years ago:
I want to be part of something big – to be aware of the fact that what I do has meaning. This is why I keep reflecting on the concept of “building the Kingdom of God” – knowing that a mighty work is being done and the work I do in my little corner is part of that work…gives value to all I do.
I never lost the passion. What has changed is that I have found “my little corner” more acceptable. I have learned that this little corner is part of the Kingdom. It is the place where I breath and move and where my senses do their magic. It is true that there are children in the world who need a meal today, but there is also a grandchild that needs to know he is loved and I will be calling him today. I think that when I wrote this I was thinking about my work. But it was never about work.
You may think that the reason you go to work each day is so that you will be given a paycheck to put food on the table and clothes on your back. But I believe that your job is about building the Kingdom of God. So is shopping and going to the doctor’s office and stopping to talk to your neighbor who is getting his mail as you pull out of your driveway. If you hate your job and dread the neighbor who talks way too much, then be aware that the you are a part of the building that my need some work.
There was a young man, John Huebsch, who was an inspiration for my book, The Memorial of Jesus. He co-founded Common Hope, an organization that helps families in Guatemala. John was admired by those of us who went to Guatemala to volunteer our services. Most of us felt that we could never do for the world the great things he was doing. But he liked to say, “Just take care of your little corner of the world.”
I am full of gratitude today for the big thing thing I am part of, the building of the Kingdom. The new year isn’t about starting new things but about continuing the work. It is a work we all share.