I was reminded yesterday yet again, if such a reminder was necessary, that like most people I have an over-scheduled life. Yet as hectic as that existence sometimes is, I still find a great deal of enjoyment and insight in the fact that this existence does not preclude being observant about other people and how they are living. So, in the brief time allotted to me by my other responsibilities of the day–which will be discussed as part of my overscheduling –I will attempt to discuss at least a few of those insights before I rapidly move on to other tasks of relative urgency, such as showering and getting out the door to accomplish those tasks that I have agreed to do. So, let us begin.
On Friday evening, as I was reading before the Sabbath, I got a call from a friend of mine asking for the help of my roommate and myself–mostly my roommate, as I am no expert at the task–in cutting some wood for her. I conveyed this request to my roommate and he agreed and commented that even if we do not feel as if we are getting enough progress on our own tasks in life that it is easy to assent to help a friend because at least that sort of task is one that we can consider finished and done. I wholeheartedly agreed before returning to my own lair for a quiet rest of the evening portion of the Sabbath day. Of course, it now being the morning of the first day of the week, it is now time to fulfill that promise, and so I write in the knowledge that I have things to do and do not have time to dawdle about my task.
At church, even more than usually I was a man on a mission. For example, I wanted to clarify some details like what time we were wanted to help out with the woodcutting, which included a lunch–always a pleasant bribe for someone one wants to do some sort of work. I also was looking for a bit of help on setting up the tent for next weekend’s church campout, since as usual I will likely be unable to arrive until fairly late Friday afternoon, a less than ideal time to set up a tent by myself before the arrival of the Sabbath. During the course of the day as well I had the opportunity to talk to a few others about their own missions. The gentleman I asked about helping with the tent and setting it up was busy himself as the songleader during services, trying to sell his house and enter into a new one, and rescheduling his next sermonette, as well as practicing a piece of special music. After services another gentleman expressed a wish to switch sermonettes with me, as he thought he would likely be out of town when his was scheduled to spend time with his college-age daughter, which I assented to easily enough as my message is prepared and ready to give. I was struck by the fact that I was not the only person with a lot of things to be concerned about in a short amount of time.
I spent an enjoyable evening with one of my fellow brethren working on a piece of special music that we are planning to sing in less than a month for our local congregation, a piece that involves a lot of Latin singing, and it was a productive evening. Our tenor soloist (not me) sang enough to give out his voice, and I chatted with some of his brothers about the somewhat short amount of time I had been given to prepare for the split sermon I had at the camp-out, only to hear that he had been given the same amount of time to prepare as I had. I had discussed with their father before the nature of preparing messages, and he had expressed to me personally that he sometimes has to wrestle with a subject for a long time before writing about it. I suppose, as someone with a large amount of ideas more or less worked out in my head awaiting the opportunity to come out, that I am at an advantage in being able to work things up than others are. Still, there are many people affected by wearing too many hats and not having a lot of time to prepare for their responsibilities.
In such times I am reminded of the prayer that Jesus Christ gave after the disciples returned with their report on the spiritual state of Judea, a prayer that God would raise up laborers for the harvest is ready but the laborers are few. This is likely a prayer that many people raise up. There is far more work to be done than there are people willing and able to do it. How different this picture is from the one we often fear, where it seems as if little labor is required at all, and so we readily turn aside from our labors to less productive tasks. Yet there is a great deal of labor to be done, and anyone who has ambitious plans is aware of the fact that there is far much more to be done than there are people to do it. What is to account for this disconnect? How is it that the work that needs to be done, the resources to do that work well, and the people that are ready and willing to do that work are not connected better? Perhaps such work is a part of the labor that remains undone because there are few equipped for it.
 See, for example: