Ever since my father’s accident last year, he relies more on his children helping him keep their land and animals. So when I visited my parents last year, I was swiftly pressed into service to cut up a tree that an arborist had felled. I was given a chain saw and the required safety equipment and was set to work. I have to confess that I am not that used to chain saws. In contrast to my father and some of my brothers I somehow haven’t used it much. I can use an axe alright, but in my younger years my father always did all the chainsaw work himself. So on that hot day with all the safety equipment and an unfamiliar tool in my hands I was soon sweating profusely.
“Ah, dear Vicar,” said my father, “now you know what real work is.” It’s true — I’m not doing much physical work these days and I do miss that a bit. Maybe I need to get my bike up to speed again to get at least a bit more active during my routine.
I was with my parents again several weeks later. Now my brother was handed the chain saw—and he did a much better job. Instead, I was told to get out a scythe and sneak over to the neighbour to cut down the thistles before they would seed. That job could only be done without a power tool. I am the only one of my siblings who confidently handles a scythe. So I soon was in the swing and mowed the unwanted thistles. I did not get tired and even enjoyed it. Maybe the Vicar was good for some manual labour after all!
It requires experience and training to become good at a task. Often, the more we do it, the more comfortable we get at something. Natural talent, enthusiasm and practice combine to make us good at something. At times we just need to be given the opportunity to practice.
In the church there are also many tasks. We do have the rosters, of course. But there is far more to work in the church than that. There are all the unofficial things that make a church a success: from being an encourager, a faithful prayer warrior, someone who invites others with ease, and even a confident evangelist. By working together we can strengthen the work of the church.