“Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” Truly, it is difficult enough getting into our calling and being able to devote our whole self solely to that one thing. It takes lots of sacrifice, patience, and a degree of suffering before we arrive at a place where we can truly say that from sun up to sundown that I am doing only what God has called me to do. That we press forward until we get there is necessary, because that is the only place where the abundant grace of God has been reserved for us to bear fruit beyond fruit in this life.
Yet, when we get to that place where we are actually doing what the Lord has called us to do from sun up to sun down, sometimes fruit remains to be a peculiar thing to be seen. Even farmers will tell you that the fruit that their trees produce changes from year to year – you never know what you are going to get and everything is affected by their conditions in the environment. And then many fruit trees take up to three years before they start producing edible fruit, so the early life of the tree are just an investment for the farmer.
I believe that the same holds true in the Spiritual Life; that it may take years of faithfully and patiently pampering and cultivating our vocation until it even begins to produce edible fruit. And it will be hard sometimes for you to keep going without knowing that what you are doing is working, you may have temper tantrums and get angry at God, you will question your calling and vocation, people will give you that look that says, ‘who do you think you are’, and you will feel as if the Lord has utterly abandoned you like Habakkuk wrote about. Saints up and down the centuries have this testimony of suffering. Be tempered and cautious towards a vocation that bears abundant fruit immediately.
“When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”” The call to be an Unprofitable Servant is all about doing what you are called to, without expecting a pat on the back for it. Clearly, we Christians believe that the reward will come in time, but, for now, it is our hour to faithfully grind it out in all perseverance and trust in Him who sets His laborers to work in the field.
“For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.” Sometimes when we don’t see the fruit from our labors that ‘we believe’ should be there, we begin questioning whether this is what God has actually called us to do. My response to that is that looking for clear signs whether God is pleased or unpleased with our labors is something to pray about; sometimes they are easy to discern when our labors involve ministry to individual people, because they give us feedback; other times it is not so easy to discern because we don’t know God’s measurables.
The call of today’s readings is for us to remember to persevere and press forward in our calling as Unprofitable Servants and to allow God to do with our labors whatever He so desires. That is, we cannot control, manipulate, or micromanage the fruits of our labors – that is God’s business. All we can do is wake up every day that God blesses us with, and go out there are prayerfully serve Him through love of neighbor and self and let grace fall where it may.
As you reflect upon the readings at Mass today, here are some questions for you to consider:
- Who am I more impatient with? God? Myself? Others? Why am I impatient?
- When are those moments that I grow weary or impatient in my calling?
- How much am I in need of feeling appreciated and compensated in some way? How often do I tap into the grace of God through prayer to refuel me in my vocation?
Lord, thank you for calling me to your service.
I believe in my vocation and I pray that you
help me to faithfully persevere in it;
even through every uncertainty, doubt, test, and temptation that I may suffer.
I trust in your grace to increase me,
and to conform whatever my humble efforts may produce to your Glory.
Go before me Christ Jesus in all that I do, make clear the path,
so that I might go wherever you lead me, and correct me where I may stray.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen
PSALMS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.