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We are asked our opinions everyday.  The ubiquious collection of data and the instant reflection of personal opinion has yielded a universe of customer service and response surveys in almost every venue of life.  What has been striking to me is the number of instances where the person with whom I am interacting takes it on themselves to appeal to me to rank them "excellent" across the sphere of inquiry.  Some even go so far as to let me know that should I rank them as less than superior that there will be real world consequences for their averageness. It has become a serious matter to rank people as anything less than "excellent".  The bell curve that describes most experiences across a spectrum, is dead.


We can transfer that mentality to our faith as well.  We expect that what we do in the name of Christ must, by definition, be extraordinary.  Picking up our cross and following after must always be met with real, measuable results in the world here and now in terms we understand.  We want to see lives won.  Outcomes changed.  Neighbourhoods transformed.  And in the face of the needs in all their multiplicity and demands, we can stand and wonder at the never ending demands of what it means to walk with people in the midst of their messy lives and wonder how we can ever do anything about it.  We suspect that we are simply not enough, not adequate and not up to the task of being faithful people of God.  We may want to see a new world order in the Kingdom of God, yet feel as though we  possess neither the energy nor the energy to meet the demands of a wanting world.  We might even be tempted to think that if we cannot be "excellent" we would best not try at all.

But time and again we are reminded, as we must be, of the deep truth of the matter:  the work of building the kingdom is not ours.  The task of being God with us is not dependent on our ability to get it right, to perform the right ritual, to answer every question, or to love unblinkingly.  It is not our responsibility to successfully design the gospel lived out in the world.  Rather, we are much more akin to being gardeners whose planning, work, and toil is rewarded by the process over which they have no control or precise vision for.  The best we can do is plan for and set the conditions around the working of the growing; the working of God.  As much as we so desperately wish to be universally effective, the best any of us can do is to be faithful to the calling we have been given, pointing always to the way of Christ.

We are enough-- adequate, sufficient, relevant, and yes effective-- not through the capacity of our hearts to love, our brains to plan, our bodies to serve, but only through the working of Christ with us, of Christ through us. It is because Jesus goes before us that our endeavours mean anything.  It is because Jesus leads us on, building the kingdom aorund us, and even in spite of us. We are enough for all the ills of the world because Jesus is enough for all things, even those places of great pain in our world.

God so loves the world that he gave his son for the love and life of all the world.  And in that there is enough, indeed more than enough for all of us in all things come what may.

1 Corinthians 3:3-15

 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.