What one thing would you need to have in order to finally get on with the work you’ve been put on this earth to do?
It’s an important question, one worth asking.
If, for example, what you wanted to do was become a skier, you’d need skis. If you wanted to be a guitar player, you’d need a guitar. If you were going to be a philanthropist, you’d need money.
It’s not rocket science (for which you’d need, if not a rocket, then at least, science).
But here’s the thing: If you’re in a position to believe that you have a reasonable chance of pulling off any of those kinds of big vocational adventures, you’ve already walked a ways down that road. That is to say, if you’re convinced that what you’ve been put on this earth to contribute to the great human drama is your amazing skiing, guitar-playing, gift-giving awesomeness, you probably already have (at least in some basic form) skis, a guitar, or some money. Right? You’ve almost certainly done some of that stuff already, which suggests that you already have access to the basics necessary to accomplish that goal.
But if what you think you have to offer the world is great writing, or great music, or great hospitality, how do you answer that question? A pen, a melody, a warm embrace—all things (like the skis, the guitar, the money) you most likely have already as well.
All of which is to say: Chances are better than even that you already possess that one thing you need to do what you’ve been placed on this earth to do.
In which case, asking, “What one thing would you need to have in order to finally get on with it?” is a distraction from actually “getting on with it.” When you already have the basics of what you need to do the work you’re called to do, waiting for the one “perfect” thing is just fiddling.
Are you really going to be able to write that novel, song, poem if you get a better pen, notebook, app?
If something new would make your work better, fine, expend the energy to acquire it. But don’t kid yourself that you can’t do anything important until you have it. Keep doing the work while you’re trying to upgrade.
What does all this stuff have to do with a guy who writes about congregational transformation?
Ask yourself the same question about what your congregation truly needs to finally get on with the work of the reign of God.
See, because I keep hearing excuses about what we don’t have, and what we could do if we just . . .
Is that family life center, hip young minister, influx of new young families going to finally give you what you need to achieve the work God needs for you to do?
If the answer is yes, sell the farm and go get them. But chances are you already have the stuff necessary to begin that work. Get to it. Constantly lamenting what they don’t have prevents a lot of congregations from ever really exploring the amazing things that could be done with what they do have.
Think about the work Jesus had to do and the resources he used to get it done. Stomping about the Judean outback with a band of inveterate point-missers couldn’t have been anyone’s idea of a dream scenario for unleashing the reign of God. But the great thing about the work we have in front of us is that God doesn’t need much in the way of raw material to accomplish God’s purposes.
You and your own band of inveterate point-missers will do just fine.
Use what you’ve got. Get back to work. Change the world.