You know how from time to time a passage of scripture gets stuck in your brain and stubbornly refuses to budge! For me, over the past few months, that passage has been Luke 17: 5-10, our lectionary reading from the beginning of October, particularly verses 7-9: “Who amongst you would say to your slave who has just come in from the fields, ‘Come and sit and eat.’ Wouldn’t you actually say to him, ‘Prepare and serve my meal. You can eat later’….Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?”
They’re harsh words, aren’t they? Jarring words. The kind of words that you can’t imagine the Jesus who proclaims freedom for the oppressed, who promises rest for all who are weary and heavily burdened, would say. And yet, sometimes, you need jarring words, words that remind you to just keep on putting one foot in front of the other, to not wait for reward, or for commendation, but just to keep on doing your job – for that’s your job! As verse 10 says, “So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!”
Because most of what faith compels us to do, day by day, day after day, is small and mundane. And some days it’s just hard work! The reason being that what we are doing in sharing the work of our God who – after all – came to be a worthless slave too! As writer, Debie Thomas, says, “The life of faith is as straightforward as a slave serving his master dinner. As ordinary as a hired worker fulfilling the terms of his contract. Faith isn’t fireworks; it’s not meant to sizzle. Faith is simply recognising our tiny place in relation to God’s enormous, creative love and then filling that place with our whole lives.”
Faith isn’t fireworks. It’s just the ordinary ways we as very ordinary people step out in response to our own need or the need of others every day. It’s simply recognising our tiny place in relation to God’s enormous, creative love and then filling that place with our lives. Simply showing up and doing your job. Listening when someone needs to talk. Making time to make that phone call. Sharing the activities of your church or local community. Taking a watering can to the struggling new plantings in the nature reserve – or setting out water for wildlife as I notice so many people doing now. Exchanging a friendly greeting with someone who looks lonely on the bus or in the café. Giving money to people in need – here in Australia or overseas. Writing a thank you note to someone who has done you a kindness. Telling someone you appreciate the job they’re doing. Helping rake up leaves after a storm! Cooking a meal. Praying for someone you know having a hard time.
All these ordinary things done by ordinary people – just getting on and doing the work of faith – are what faith is. May God bless all of you in the small, sometimes not easy, ordinary, everyday, acts of faith you do. Amen. Belinda