Ephesians 4:7-16; Luke 13:1-9
In the reading for today, Paul tells the Ephesians about the unique gifts God has given each so that they might fulfill God’s plan. Just as it was for the Ephesians, it is up to each of us to discern what God is calling us to do with those gifts. This is a lifelong process, not just the call to a certain profession or way of life, but the many calls within that profession or way of life and the calls in all of our activities and encounters with others.
Sometimes I find it fairly easy when things seem to fall in place and the “call” is quite clear - it is like I am being led and “all” I have to do is follow. These are not necessarily simple things to do, it is just that the clarity of the call seems to be in bold letters. Other times, I find myself struggling to sort out what the real call is. Lately, I see so many possibilities and I am struggling with what the real call is; none are in capital letters to guide me.
I think part of the struggle is related to getting older and knowing that I will not have time to do everything. It also comes from the regret for not always following the call to serve God in a more intentional and complete way. In a way I am like the fig tree in the gospel. I would not say that my life has been barren, but I know that there was much more fruit I could have borne had I been open to the call from God to serve his people.
I visualize Jesus as the gardener, interceding on behalf of the fig tree. If I am going to produce good fruit, I have to be open to the care and love from Jesus. Unlike the fig tree, I cannot just be passive. I have to actively listen and choose to respond to the call. While trying to discern which of the conflicting calls to follow, I turn to a prayer from Thomas Merton:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
By Susan Tinley