“It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.” (Mark 13:34)
Today’s Gospel ushers us into Advent, a season of preparation. Here, Jesus reminds us that we have each been invited into His work with a unique task.
In Advent we live in the joy of knowing God has come to redeem all of creation back into His perfect love. And yet we also hold the reality of “not yet”; there is still real suffering, anguish, and trauma in our own lives and those around us till He comes again. I am tempted to throw myself into a hundred directions, but quickly feel spread thin or discouraged by the reality of our hurting world. Looking back to Him this season, I’m asking, “what is my unique task”?
If I am entrusted in His work, then I want my task to reflect His incredible compassion and tenderness. Everything He does flows from His patient love. This verse refocuses from the temptation of throwing myself into busyness and accomplishing. Rather, with Him I want to slowly enter into the tasks at hand. I do not want to be living half heartedly; looking down and realizing I’ve been letting my heart slip into mediocrity, thinking, “this doesn’t really matter” or “I could be doing more if tasked with something else”.
At a recent dinner with friends I was moved by how beautifully and attentively our host had arranged the whole meal. But in particular, I continue to remember the lovely placemats which were arranged with seasonal colors and set with care. Perhaps my unique task, at least for today, is to place the tablemats. The reality is He notices. And should others notice too, doing my job well means they will encounter His attentiveness. A meal will be made all the more beautiful, a guest will feel valued and cherished, the time at table will feel more sacred and reverent. Amidst a hurting world, let us prepare to receive Him and others into the home of our hearts with His love. Spending time in His intimate gaze, He will teach us that nothing is insignificant in His eyes, and He delights in elevating all our ordinary tasks to extraordinary.
By Sarah Myers