Yesterday afternoon, in conversation with Mandy about how my week was going, I said the phrase, “I’ve done nothing all week.” That was both a true and false statement. Let me explain.
The first two days of my work-week had been constantly hijacked by life. Watching kids who were off from school, multiple parent-teacher conferences, playing basketball, attending Mandy’s opera rehearsals, running errands, cleaning the house. Lots of activity…minimal ‘work.’
And even the actual work I did all took much longer than expected. A quick lunch turned into two hours at the restaurant, a training event unexpectedly turned into a networking opportunity, and some unexpected news from an unexpected source meant a two-hour trip to visit two of our homebound members.
So, by Tuesday afternoon, the weekly email hadn’t been sent, no worship had been planned, and my sermon wasn’t started. Nothing had been crossed off my to-do list…thus, I had done nothing.
But think about what I’m calling ‘nothing.’ I sat across the table from one of our new members and heard about his life, work, hobbies, and faith for two hours…what a sacred privilege. I sat in the room of a dear, faithful woman and helped her grieve the death of her son…what a sacred privilege. I sat with one of our long-time, faithful members as she told stories about her life, family, work, and adventures…what a sacred privilege.
So, while none of those things were on my to-do list when the week began, they most certainly were work—and sacred, pastoral work, at that. I wasn’t very productive, I didn’t get my tasks accomplished, and I still have a lot of work to do this week, but I most-certainly haven’t done ‘nothing.’
And, in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, my point is that we too often focus on what we’re doing or how much we accomplish, while neglecting who we’re with and how we are with them. I’ve been reminded, this week, that relational work matters way more in the Kingdom of God than the tasks we accomplish or the things we produce. Who we are is more important than what we do. We are human beings…not humans doing.
Often, it seems, the actions we would consider ‘nothing’ are the most faithful actions we could take—and shouldn’t be denigrated or ignored in their importance.
So, may we be committed, this week and always, to slow down and be faithfully present with all those in our midst. May we not be so concerned with our to-do lists, achievements, and production, that we miss opportunities to be a blessing in the lives of others. May our ultimate success be measured not by performance or accomplishment, but by people cared for. And may we be okay doing ‘nothing’ for the Kingdom.