Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’ The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you. ‘Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from ploughing or tending sheep in the field, “Come here at once and take your place at the table”? Would you not rather say to him, “Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink”? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, “We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!”’
Awards Season – Oscars, The Golden Globes, Baftas, National Television Awards to name a few. And don’t forget Sports Personality of the Year and the New Year’s Honours Lists.
Call me cynical, but what are we actually awarding? There is criticism for the Honours List that they are given out to the Old Boys’ Club and it’s not what you have done but who you know that counts.
We award footballers and managers millions for being able to kick a ball around the pitch, yet heart surgeons and paramedics save people’s lives for a lot less. Frustration is caused at school as truant children are rewarded for attending, when those who attend as they are supposed to are ignored.
Have we skewed what is worthy? Jesus warns the disciples not to expect rewards for doing what they were meant to do. A slave’s job was to serve their master, not expect to dine at his table for doing a good days job.
I’m all for acknowledging a job well done, or giving thanks for hard work and effort, but we must not expect to be rewarded because we did our job. Those who truly deserve the new year’s honours, or the huge bonuses, or the front page spread are those who work tirelessly without the spotlight, who do what they do best without waiting for the camera to watch them do it. The true “unsung” heroes, who love what they do and do what they love.
The saying goes “choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. May we do what we do best, and do it to our best, and that will be all the reward we need.
Forgive us Lord when we:
place obstacles in the paths of others so we can get ahead.
put ourselves first so we get the better deal
forget others so we are noticed
Fill us with your Spirit, remind us so we are loved so we share love with others. Then we will have no need to be the star for we will know we are precious and loved for who we are. Amen
The Rev’d Ruth Watson, Minister at Patricroft and Worsley Road URCs
St. Andrew's United Reformed Church - The United Reformed Church in Monkseaton and Whitley Bay
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