If You Knew You Could Not Fail - A Pastoral Note from Jenny


Dear friends,

When something is important enough,

you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.

Elon Musk

A very long time ago it seems, I attended a workshop that engaged a process to help each person discern where God might be calling them to serve. It was called Discover Your Ministry. I was young, with a young family. I just knew that God was calling me to stay at home with my children, to be their full-time caregiver. It is probably one of the biggest understatements to say I was stunned when I discerned God was calling me into ordained ministry. It was nowhere on my radar. In fact, it was one of the two things I had long said to God that I wouldn’t do! 

I remember vividly, even though several decades have slipped by since, sitting in the church building amongst a group of 70-80 other people when the facilitator told us to spend some time in prayer. He said that we were to pay attention to all that we had been exploring over the past few days, to see if there were any threads we could pull together. And then we were to sit in the silence waiting on God, for maybe God would show us where we were called to serve next. He asked us this question: If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt for the glory of God.

Over the past year and a half life has been very tough. For me, for everyone. Had we had some idea eighteen months ago what was ahead of us, I wonder if any of us would have thought “this is impossible?” Would we have charged “full steam ahead” into the pandemic situation, or would we have quietly wrung our hands and hung our head in despair? Whilst I’d like to think I would be in the former group, I wonder if that is really true? Because it really seems like so much in the last eighteen months has been stacked against us, and especially when we believe that we are created for community (consider the community that is the Trinity — God in relationship through the three Persons). Physical distancing rules, stay-at-home orders, isolation, fear — all have stacked up against us to be in community.

Yet we have found a way. Many ways, in fact. We have found ways to stay in touch with each other one to one and as groups and congregations. We have found ways to keep communicating, keep sharing ideas, keep the faith. We have found ways to connect with those at greatest risk of being isolated even further, of sharing our ‘richness’ with others who have little or nothing. The odds were stacked against us, but we did it anyway!

At the beginning of this pandemic, if I had asked myself the question “If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt for the glory of God?” I hope I would have answered that I would do whatever was in my sphere of influence to connect us together, whatever I could do to uplift and support people, whatever I could do to offer the hope and love that comes from God.

The risks have not totally gone away, even as restrictions ease. And in some ways our living will never be the same again as it was before 2020. (Which is ok — when someone grumbled to me this week that it’s “not like the old days,” I reflected back that not much is like the old days, except for people who grumble that it’s not like the old days!) Everything changes, sometimes more rapidly than at other times. So, the question seems very relevant to me right now, and worthy of time spent reflecting on it. What is so important to us, or rather, what do we discern is so important to God right now that we will invest our time, our resources, ourselves into it, even if the odds are not in our favour? If we knew we could not fail, what would we attempt for the glory of God?

Blessings and Peace,