• David Ager

Thought For Today: John 21:21

“’Lord, what about him?’”

John 21:21

We no longer take a daily newspaper at home, but I do try to read the “Church Times” every week. It goes with the territory, I suppose. Part of that is scanning the “Jobs Vacant” pages. Every now and again I light on something where I think “I would love to get my teeth into that one.”

It’s all a futile exercise because at my stage of life, I am not looking for a new appointment and I doubt I would be offered one. But it’s interesting looking to see what’s out there, though that often leads to a melancholic daydream of what might have been if only I had been ordained earlier in life or been born several years later…

Breaking out of this speculative world and back into the reality of the present, two things occur. The first is that it’s God’s prerogative to appoint people to do his work and he will manage things so that all those jobs are filled somewhere from among the rich resources of the people he is equipping with the gifts of his Spirit. When Jesus faced his early disciples with the crisis of a shortage of labourers in the harvest, and even though they themselves would turn out to be the answer to their own prayer, what they were to ask was that “the Lord of the harvest would send out labourers.”

The second is this: instead of sitting around wishing I could do the things I am not called to do, I should be getting on with the ones I am. There was that occasion, you may remember, when Jesus welcomed some of his first disciples to breakfast by the lakeside in the early morning. There followed an intimate and most moving conversation with Peter and some very necessary healing in their relationship with each other. Then Peter asks Jesus a question about one of the other disciples and what is to happen to him. Jesus gently tells Peter to mind his own business. Jesus will take care of the others and it is up to Peter only to see that he himself follows Jesus along the pathway that is his.

So I shall probably carry on scanning the jobs columns; it’s good to know what exciting and imaginative opportunities there are as God’s church continues to hold out the word of life to a world of immense need. But perhaps it should provoke in me a more prayerful response, first that God will draw out and appoint the right person to each of those vacancies and then that God will keep me faithfully following him in the ways that he opens up to me.

Maybe we could each take some moments today to hold to God those places where there are jobs in his Kingdom to be done but no-one presently there to carry them out and then to reflect on what it is that we are each called to do in his service. For one thing is sure: the unemployment figures in God’s economy should always stand at nil.

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