Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Do your job. . .

Everyone knows Bill Belichick's coaching mantra:  'Do Your Job.' Roughly translated, "Do Your Job!" simply means being prepared, working hard, paying attention to the details and putting the team first. There must be something to it. Since Belichick took over the New England Patriots, his team has enjoyed 14 straight winning seasons, 12 playoff appearances, 6 AFC championships -- among other things. Many have taken up that mantle with respect to leadership in a variety of venues, even in the Church (watch Pr Ben Ball here).  I won't steal his thunder, though it is rather gentle thunder at that.  Yet I wonder if that is not the sum total of Luther's Table of Duties?  If it is, then it is applicable to all of us, from our baptismal vocations of worship, witness, intercession, and service, to our vocations as husbands, wives, sons, daughters, employers, employees, neighbors, and citizens.  Yet that is what makes it so difficult, isn't it?

Is it ever so much easier to criticize other people for not doing their jobs or for how they do their jobs than it is for us to do ours.  It is ever so much easier to come up with excuses or justifications for things we did not do that were our jobs.  It is ever so much easier to rewrite the job description so that it has us doing what we want to do instead of what is our job.  All of these are certainly clear and evident in the world around us but could they be evident also in our baptismal vocation and our callings to live as Christ's own in the world?

Not only to we love to hate our jobs, we love to spend our time figuring out ways to avoid doing our jobs.  I know it is true for me.  I suspect it is no less true for you.  Tomorrow is the convenient day when we shall at last be faithful and do what is given us to do but, as the song sings, tomorrow never comes.  We occupy ourselves with the things we love to do which may or may not be ours to do while we ignore what is our duty.  That is surely the dilemma every pastor finds himself in and I know it is not exclusive to pastors.

And the other side of the coin is that when we do work at what is ours to do, we expect recognition for it and complain when there is no formal gratitude or acknowledgement.  But, as Jesus reminds us, we have only done our duty -- something honorable but something that does not require and should not expect peculiar honors.

Every day I wrestle with the duties that are mine in the jobs I have to do and every day I fail -- but it is less the failure of a man who works hard but is always behind than it is a man who labors under a job or vocation that is not easy.  I would rather do the easy stuff than the hard stuff every day of the week.  You are probably no different.  So today we hear a simple call to a great task -- do your job.  Do it to the fullest of your ability.  Do it without expectation of reward or recognition.  Do it not because there is something in it for you but because it is your job.  And in this we are all to hold one another accountable.  In the world.  In the home.  And, in the Church.

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