01/03/2015 From The Minister's To-Do List
I recently had correspondence with someone over the hills and far away. Actually I was copied in on attempts to organise an event that was being staged in two different places. The person I am speaking about was running one venue and I am down to run the other one.
Well ‘over the hills and far away’ was definitely a hard person to please. Not only that but they expected everyone else to do the running around and they had no end of criticism for whatever was presented. I am not talking rants but just well thought out slights to all contributions. I found the negativity only made me more determined to be a ‘can-do’ sort of person, to get things organised and deliver what was needed for this task. Trouble was I also suspected this was just what the other end wanted so they could do nothing (except criticise).
Actually it made me look quite hard at the way I come across in email and letters and in person. Sometimes we have to guard against those who would dump work upon us, but we don’t always look too closely at our demeanour when defending ourselves. We like to think we always present an angelic face but others will tell us we have a way to go. Perhaps I am going to give up delusion this Lent. Sometimes we need to see others at work to ask ‘do I sound like them’
I stood once in a hotel where the poor receptionist was struggling with the computer which seemed to be churning out incorrect bills for all. All the men settling their bills (and the men had decided to pay on this occasion) were all loud and no nonsense about the matter. They made demands, played to the gallery and used every phrase to suggest their bills were wildly inflated. It became a feeding frenzy. Then someone came forward who looked at their bill and said one of their meals had not been charged. The receptionist virtually hugged him and thanked him for his kindness and honesty. Sensing some scorn from others the man said, “why thank me, if I’ve had something it’s only right I should pay for it” . The room calmed considerably after that sentence.
Galatians 5 speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. They are preceded with much of the damage to the soul shown in that hotel above – discord, jealousy, fits of rage, dissention, faction etc. This damage makes our lives complex and miserable and creates a world where loud voices and sharp elbows make people cower and remain silent while others are awful. And yet God has given us a clear path to an easier time. The fruit is what everyone needs. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such there is no law. We need to be honest with ourselves, how fruitful are we before God . Are we critics or Christians. Will we make any improvements this Lent.