I can do what you can’t do; and you can do what I can’t do. Together we can do great things.
During the last week I heard from a colleague that they were feeling unsure of what they had to offer the Church in the current environment. It reminded me of me! Many years ago (in a galaxy (or at least a state) far far away) a group of colleagues with whom I met monthly identified “Imposter’s Syndrome” as a real thing that threatened our sense of value for our own ministries. We would look with awe and wonder at what the others in the group were doing, and recognise that we could not do those things. What we were less able to recognise was that we were all looking at each other and thinking exactly the same thing.
I love the quote above attributed to Mother Theresa. As I observe what you do, I am deeply aware that you can do things I can’t do. In my rational moments I am also aware that I can do things you can’t do. And I absolutely love that it is part of God’s plan that we are in this world together, and in the Uniting Church together, and in this Synod and Presbytery together so that together we can do great things!
Of course, we will all be familiar with the saying: “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” How often through life I have wished that I had the gifts and abilities of another person - whether it was the academic abilities of some school mates, the sporting abilities of others, and even the ability to make lots of friends. I have now reached a time of my life when I am (mostly) no longer jealous of the accomplishments of others. I don’t crave to be anything other than who I am, doing what it is that I do.
A big part of this is due to a wonderful friend and mentor who helped me realise that I have received gifts from God to be able to do some particular things, and others have received gifts from God to be able to do different things. No one is given “all the gifts.” No one has all the abilities to do all the things that need to be done. If I yearn to be able to do the things that you do so well, I am turning my back on what God asks of me, and that creates the risk that some of God’s work entrusted to me will not be achieved. We are required to work together as a team - God’s mission is going to flourish best in this world as the people of God serve together in the ways God gifts and calls us all. When we all focus on using our gifts to the best of our abilities, when we put our energy into doing well what God calls us to do, when we covenant to work together as a people, we will see great things done in God’s name.
As time moves on, more and more we are turning our attention to what the Church needs to be and do to live into the future to which God calls us. I still don’t have the answers for that, although I am loving the exploration and conversations. But I do know this: each of us is going to need to be faithful in identifying, using, and continually developing the gifts we have been given, and focusing on the areas of ministry and mission to which God calls each of us individually, so that we can achieve God’s purposes in the days, months and years to come.
Together, you - as in all of you - and I make a great team as we collaborate and cooperate to achieve the work God places before us. Praise God for that!
Blessings and peace,