There are (at least) 2 ways of living as a Christian:
- loaded down with all the concerns – lists of sick people to pray for, world problems, – proper concerns, but “heavy”, and liable to make life hard going.
- or with a sense of God’s ownership, and thanks for it:
sometimes (as at Harvest) times are good – there is the reminder of the gifts of creation
sometimes (as at Christmas, Easter, Pententecost) focus on the gift of Jesus, of his life, his death for us, his sending of the Holy Spirit.
In darker moments, when its easy to focus on what is going wrong or badly, and the pain of it, the best way may be to go on with a sense of God’s ownership. We don’t have to understand, as long as someone makes sense of it. We are not called to be in control, but only to do our part. If we don’t understand everything, is that a great surprise – God is much greater than we are, and there is no suggestion we have all the information, let alone the ability to process it properly.
Jesus tells the story of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:33-46), picking up from Isaiah. God had worked, not just to pop plants in, but to clear a place, build a wall, plant, and get everything set up. All the tenants had to do when they came in later was to carry on with the harvest and maintenance. There is real anger at their attempt to take over ownership – the deceit, theft, pretence.
Of course there’s a warning here for us all: Don’t imagine you own – anything! On earth, we’re all tenants, and we need to know that, and pay due regard to the landlord. That’s the negative side, but see the positive as well – Like a good tenant, you don’t have to worry when the roof leaks – you do what you can, and tell the owner. That’s your responsibility.
When life is good – Give thanks. When life is not so easy. Give thanks for the owner, who has to deal with everything. We don’t. And if you can remember that, you could save a lot of nervous energy. Whether it is as easy to put into practice as to understand – well, you try.