Taking the Long View of Kingdom Work
Yesterday morning I sat down for coffee with Dr. Bob Cutillo. There are a few people in my life who leave me feeling not just refreshed, but almost nearer to Christ himself after meeting together. Bob is one of those people.
We spoke about long-term plans for DIFW (he’s on the board), the lessons we’ve learned from vocation groups and what we’ll improve for next year (he’s also a vocation group leader), and we spoke about his weekend camping at Maroon Bells, near the beautiful, wild-flower laced town of Crested Butte. But before we began, he told me, “Don’t let me forget. I have a small present for you.”
“Is it a book?” I asked. The last gift was a timeless Henri Nouwen book on leadership.
“Well, it’s words. I know you appreciate well-said words.”
Before we left, of course, I had forgotten – but he didn’t. He shared with me this poem, written by the former Archbishop of San Salvador (El Salvador) Oscar Romero. A saint, a martyr, and a Latin American theologian, Romero wrote this poem, which I now have read nearly a dozen times. It should be required reading for all Christian leaders as they’re planning the future of their businesses or organizations. No, it should be required reading for us all as we set out to serve the Lord and work for him each day. I’ll leave you with his words.
Taking The Long View of Kingdom Work, by Oscar Romero
“It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplished the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant sees that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and this is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.