Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Visit the Archives for More Reflections!
Please read this passage in your Bible or follow it as a link: Philippians 2:1-15
[Image: "Text"] The Invitation
"October Hullabaloo. What a stupid name for a party," Jim said under his breath as Dan walked away from him. Jim hated Dan. Oh, sure. Jim was polite enough when Dan gave him the invitation:
"Hey, Jim. We're having this party out at the farm. Do you want to come?" Dan asked.
Jim put on a big, toothy smile. "A party, huh? Sounds great. I'll see if I can make it."
"Great." There was an awkward silence. Dan just turned and left.
Jim looked down at the invitation. He had to be nice to Dan at work, but there was no way heíd waste any weekend time on Dan and Scotty. Dan was always getting the performance bonuses. Dan was always getting the accolades. Dan was the boss' pet. Dan was the fair-haired boy around work. Jim watched Dan as he worked his way around the office handing out invitations. Everybody got one.
That was Dan for you. Nobody would be left out--not even Jim. Jim didn't care. He wasn't going. Dan could kiss up all day Saturday without him. He didn't have to watch that. He imagined that most of the people in the office would be going. Susan would be there. She'd take her tent, and stay the night. Jim wondered if she would go alone. Ronald would probably even go. He would have to load up on antihistamines if the thing was going to be outside. He surely wouldn't stay in a tent overnight. That guy was always sneezing and sniffling. It was so irritating. The whole office seemed to be irritating to Jim today.
It wasn't fair. Jim could never catch a break. Dan and the rest always seemed to be two steps ahead of him, and they seemed to actually enjoy their work. Jim didn't ask for help. He kept his clients close to him, so others wouldn't try to steal them away. Other people seemed so open. Other people seemed to welcome advice and suggestions. Jim couldn't really understand them. It looked like to him that they were taking huge risks and leaving themselves open for someone to steal everything they had worked for. Yet, it was Jim who seemed to be losing out. He didn't understand. He didn't know what he was missing that the others seemed to have. He crumpled up the invitation and shoved it into his pocket. At the end of the day when he reached into his pocket for the car keys, it was still there. He threw it on the ground, and drove away.
Have you ever known someone like Jim? Maybe you have even felt as he felt in the story. Itís painfully obvious that Jimís fear of being vulnerable to others is the cause of his unhappiness. Too often in the church I have seen how this fear operates as people allow petty differences and power grabs to undermine the mission of the body of Christ. Those living and working together in community do hurt and betray one another. Thatís a part of life. Christ calls us, however, to not let that fear ruin our relationships with others. In the passage from Philippians, Paul exhorts us to be of the same mind with others in the Church. No, we canít and wonít always agree with one another. Paul calls to think beyond any single issue and to love one another. Paul tells us that in the Church being of the same mind means that we do nothing from selfishness or conceit. We act out of love, compassion, and sympathy for our neighbor. We do not treat others as inferior. We put the interests of the Gospel and Godís love ahead of our own.
Unlike Jim, we share, open ourselves and our gifts to the community of believers, grieve as one in times of sadness, and rejoice as one as the community experiences joy. God is in our midst working Godís will through us and increasing Godís reign among us. We aspire to be of one mind in the church so that we can shine like stars in the places of the world in need of Godís love.
Pray that God would enable you to work for Godís will and good pleasure.
(o) 412-682-6886 (h) 412-421-0162