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[July 31, 2011]
--"But when Simon Peter
saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Go away from me,
Lord, for I am a sinful man!' For he and all who were with him were
amazed at the catch of fish they had taken; and so als were James
and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then
Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid, from now on you will be
catching people.' When they had brought their boats to shore, they
left everything and followed him."-Luke 5: 8-11
Tasha was watching this reality show last night and I, feeling
unenthusiastic about the book which awaited me on my nightstand,
opted instead to join her in watching said reality show. In this
particular show, the individuals were broken up into two teams for
their weekly challenge. Now, this is a popular strategy for reality
shows, especially early in the season, because it saves time and
also creates drama. Nothing, in fact, seems more effective at
creating drama than asking people to unite on a common cause. And
so, as if on cue, one of the teams on the show descended into
chaos. They lost the challenge and spent most of the show bickering
with one another, before finally resorting to name calling. It was
not a great moment in television history.
Nonetheless, this reminded me once again of the challenges many of
us face daily. We, you see, work and live and play with other
people. And this often leads to drama. On the show, as things
started going badly for one of the teams, the daggers came out and
immediately blame was foisted upon one member. I believe this is a
common experience for most of us. When working with others, we
blame them for ineffectiveness, blame them for wasting time, blame
them for being difficult. As humans, we often struggle to work
together. So it is that most people would rather just tackle a
project alone; after all, better to have to do more work than to
work with other people.
But this is the thing. No one, and I mean no one, has ever done
anything great alone. The only way to achieve anything of real
meaning in life, and certainly the most effective way to serve God,
is to do so in a group. Even Jesus needed a group. Each Gospel
records his call of the disciples, and each sets the stage for
Jesus' communal ministry. We are called to work together. So I
have this profound thought to offer all of us, myself included, who
struggle working with a group. Get over it! That's right, you
heard me, we all need to get over it! So our partners in work, or
our friends, or our family can be difficult. Are we so perfect?
Are we always so easy to get along with? As I watched the group
disintegrate last night, and I will admit it was entertaining, the
one thing missing was accountability. There was no humility, no
sense that each member of a dysfunctional group contributes to the
dysfunction. We all have to own our failures, just as Simon Peter
knew when he threw himself at Jesus' feet. None of us are perfect,
none of us are always easy, and we have been called, and will
continue to be called, to work in community throughout our lives.
Community is a gift, if only we can get over it!
Prayer: Holy God, on this day, please help me to see the
gifts and talents of others, and help me to be cooperative that, in
all my endeavors, I might work well with others, and serve you
better. I thank you for all the groups you have called me to join.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
[ text from file received from Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian