Did anyone notice?
"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!" Proverbs 6.6
Yesterday was busy. Yet, as I worked through my "To Do" list, a couple of things fell through the cracks: one was a meeting I was supposed to be chairing, the other was my daily post on this blog. It wasn't long after the scheduled start of the meeting (which I thought began half an hour later) that I received a phone call enquiring after my whereabouts. As regards the blog... nothing but my conscience, which woke me up early with the realisation. And I thought wistfully of a colleague on the Middle East, who told me that if he hasn't posted by 7am he receives a barrage of complaints (this is not a hint, by the way!).
While I am sorry for both omissions and the inconvenience I caused through one and the disappointment with the other, in a strange way I take comfort from realising that being bothered about these things confirms that I care - not for my reputation (which I have long since ceased to worry about) but for those for whom I do these things. Now before you condemn me for presumptuous vanity, let me explain that I am not claiming any great influence or benevolence - simply that I have something to offer and a duty to offer it alongside all the other contributions that everyone around me makes, for the well-being and nourishment of our community.
That concern was at the heart of the meeting for which I was late: how can we reform our church so that we can be more effective in our mission and ministry, despite ever scarcer resources? Many of us believe that a great opportunity lies at the heart of this conundrum: replacing the minister (a rapidly declining species) with the largely untapped resource of lay people, who have all the gifts and talents but often lack the authority to use them. Notice how the aphorism quoted above continues: "It (the ant) has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest." (Proverbs 6. 7-8) Is God speaking into our discussion about the future of His Church and what might He be saying?