Friday, December 22, 2006

Leave Yesterday Alone

Many times when I am working I get called in to settle disputes amongst the engineers on my team. There are often many ways to solve technical problems and getting people to agree on which is correct in a given circumstance can be a challenge. Sometimes I have to bring out a new way of looking at the problem to drive consensus. This can be very hard for some because they are so focused on the past. It can talk a lot of work to accept that the past is gone and move on.
"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him."
-- Matthew 21:28-32
In this parable, the father asks the son to work and the son says no. Later the son changes his mind and goes. The key here is that we get that second chance to get things right.

Notice how the father asks the son to work "today ". The invitations we receive are daily. Each day we get up and are invited again to go work the vineyard. And even if we didn't go yesterday , even if we didn't go the day before or the year before that or ten years before that. We still get that invitation every day. Again and again. Without failing.

This is not just about being invited to church, but to the many decisions we make each day as we live our lives. Today is always a new day. A new chance to express our love, to encourage, to forgive, to share.

Even after we say no. Even after we've said no a hundred times, we can still say yes. In Christ we maintain that freedom. We can receive that invitation, we can answer that call.

While understanding these concepts in a spiritual sense is an imperative, internalizing them as part of our walk is also truly foundational. For myself, the necessity to be adaptive and flexible is exercised constantly. And just as constantly I am found wanting. I find it easier to be forward-thinking about my work then about my faith. It is easier for me to make intuitive leaps in engineering than my spirituality. Perhaps because I spend so much more time working than praying? My thoughts are more often on the issues of my job, than the issues of my faith.

The good news, is that I get invited fresh every day. Every morning I have a new opportunity to say Yes. To commit and embrace. Every day is a new walk.

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