Doing God’s work
I try not to write about faith, religion or God-related stuff because I “do” that every day working for the church. It’s my job finding lessons and materials to teach the congregation about God and Jesus. I would hate to sound like I was using this space in the paper to stand on a soapbox and preach to the choir, so I made a rule that I would steer clear of that, and politics, too. But, rules are meant to be broken and I am breaking the one about the God stuff today.
Vacation Bible school started this week. I had to lead it and my son was playing in a huge baseball game at the same time. I was put in a position that upset me terribly. It couldn’t be avoided but I had to do it, I had to miss my son’s game and work instead.
To say I was saddened about missing the game was an understatement but the worst part was going to be telling my son that I was going to miss the game. I mustered up the courage and sat him down to explain.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be at the game, I just had to be at work instead, I said.
His eyes welled up with tears and he took a deep breath and dropped his head to his chest. There it was, that crushing blow no parent ever wants to see, the one that says you have let your child down.
I was devastated. I couldn’t think of anything to say that would make it better (probably because I was just as upset as he was). And then it happened; my husband chimed in.
Now, as I have said before, I love my husband to pieces. But sometimes some of those pieces are exasperating. He frustrates me and doesn’t always choose his words well. He’s from Mars and I am from Venus, or so I have read. But this time, he not only had the right words, they were not from Mars but truly from Heaven.
My husband looked at my son and, with a stern voice, said, “Son, what is the most important work you can ever do?”
Without hesitation, my son answered, “God’s work.”
My husband then said, “Correct, and what is your mother doing while she is leading vacation Bible school?”
My son answered, “God’s work, sir.”
At this point, my mouth was hanging open and I was left completely speechless, which rarely happens. Robert, my son, looked at me and said, “Mama, it’s OK if you miss the game, I understand your work is very important.”
I had to excuse myself and go have a good cry.
You see, I have never heard that come out of my husband’s or son’s mouths before, but obviously, by the certainty of my son’s answer, they had talked about this before. I was amazed, humbled and proud all at once. I was working, but it was God’s work and it was very important.
I missed the game, my son’s team lost and we both survived without me there. I led vacation Bible school, everyone had fun and nobody got hurt, so I counted it all good.
So, everyone has an opportunity to do God’s work you just need to open your eyes and look around. It might be volunteering at a shelter or food kitchen, praying for a friend, or just being the one who has a tissue after someone has had a good cry. Whatever form you do it in or whatever form it comes to you in, remember it is God’s work you are doing, and that is the most important work of all.
A Yankee with a Southern soul, Gillian Pollock is a wife, mother of two ever-challenging children and director of Christian Formation at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.