On my in to work this morning, several of us on the commuter van were talking about what days we were taking off for Christmas. One person remarked that she was going to have to work a lot of hours despite the holidays, because she was not able to get everything done in her office. This prompted another person to say that, for her, what was truly important was family and friends. She said that when you leave work, the people will miss you but the work will go on. Then she recounted this story.
Several years ago she was teaching this very lesson at a workshop for her employees. Her team is a dedicated bunch and they work very hard. It was a matter of pride that they accomplish their work goals. So when she said that if you leave, people will miss you but the institution won't care and the work will continue, that comment was met with some resistance. After the workshop my friend got a phone call that one of her team, who worked out of town, suddenly died--a forty-ish man had a heart attack and simply died to everyone's shock. The next day, my friend walked in to finish up the workshop and she told them about their colleague. Then she said, "And do you think that there isn't a person sitting at his desk doing the work this morning? He will be missed but the work goes on."
In response to her story, I joked that in many places you may leave but not replaced. And she answered, "But even with fewer hands, the work will continue."
So this year please remember what is truly important.
But for us Christians there is another lesson. God's work will always get done if not by us, then someone else. God never leaves himself without a witness. This can mean a lot of different things, but today, for me, it means that we are free and that's a big relief. None of us is so special in getting a job done that God can't find someone else. We don't bear the sole weight of responsibility--God does. Bringing in the kingdom does not depend solely on us. We can take a break and celebrate. Sure we should do our part, but we are just a part, not the whole.
Joy and Peace,