Lately I have been seeking to define my time better. As I find days available for me to attend to my different projects, I end up wandering from one thing to another: time with my latest carving project, time working on my book about children of WWII, time spent emailing friends and reading news . . . and on and on. Then I realize the day is nearly spent and what have I done?
My old struggle between focusing on less, with greater intensity, and responding to the calling of and responding to great needs in the world around me continues. Part of today's Call to Worship contained excerpts from Paul's comment in I Corinthians about the diversity of gifts and services: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed: there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates them in everyone." This statement carried a new meaning for me as I heard them during the responsive call: that God recognizes we are gifted differently in terms of what we are able to contribute.
The passage includes examples of gifts and services, and I believe Paul is affirming that we do have gifts of abilities to offer, but what I struggle with is the point that I don't have to show forth ALL of these listed. If we each have talents and skills, then collectively we can work for the coming of God's reign of peace and justice and health and wholeness for all creation. But we are not individually responsible for doing it all.
I believe also that we can exercise our gifts in different ways at different times in our lives. Now in my mid-70's, I should feel that I can let go of some activities in order to acquire proficiency in others -- others which are still contributive to a better world. In reading Sue Monk Kidd's book written with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, Traveling with Pomegranates, I find many of the same struggles of what to do with one's gifts, and which gifts are adequate and fitting. Do I work with my gift and desire for writing, and also my carving, and accept them as being sufficient unto the day, rather than try to attend every meeting of every cause, carrying banners of justice and peace for every issue that arises in our culture?
I think the answer is obvious. The question, however, is more soul-stretching. Can I trust life, trust God, enough to let go of trying to do it all? This is the calling for which I must answer in my life at this time. We shall see how the journey goes.