“We’ve done our share, did our time, let somebody else do it!” “I’m too busy, ask someone else.” “That’s not my problem, let them figure it out.” What do all these things we’ve heard said, and maybe said ourselves have in common, besides being so evidently selfish? They all exclude any chance at all for our growth and cooperation by working with Christ.
Our readings today (ACTS 6:1-7, JN 6:16-21) give a picture of who, when and why our first Deacons were called forth from the assembly and ordained for service. Seems like this idyllic Christian Community was showing some growing pains. Some complained that they were being slighted, and apparently justifiably so, because the Apostles themselves addressed the problem to solve it. In our Gospel, the Apostles rowing hard for hours against the stiff wind and waves, see Jesus outside their boat, walking on the water. Jesus tells them, ”Be not afraid. It is I”, as He walks on by and they find themselves suddenly at shore. Seems like as soon as they invited Jesus into the boat and quit relying on only their own efforts, the struggle was over.
In our family, parish and work lives, how often are we the one who asks those first questions? Regardless of the setting, going it alone without Jesus is often futile, and wears us out. This is true whether it is not including Jesus by prayer, not working with clergy, or not working with Jesus in the person of any other person. We don’t have to do it alone. We shouldn't do it alone. The Apostles, filled with grace, power and the Holy Spirit, even needed and recognized the need for additional help and they ordained Deacons for that purpose. We need to not back away, not dis-involve or disengage ourselves, not hide and proclaim our work complete… but we need to jump in in a brother or sisterly fashion to help out and enlist the help of Christ, through prayer, or in person to get done what SERVICE that need to be done. Even Jesus got Simon the Cyrenian to help carry His cross… He didn’t refuse to pick it back up because He’d carried it that far before, alone. Working together, loving each other, and helping others has been the hallmark of Christian Service since Jesus first modeled it. Peace and All Good, my friends!