One of our Sunday School classes has been using some material on Quaker leadership developed by Jennie Isbell at the Earlham School of Religion.
Lesson five has this statement from Fred Rogers (better know as the "Mister Rogers" of PBS): "All I know to do is to light the candle that has been given to me."
It struck me that this statement is what ministry is all about, expressed in about as simple and direct a way as possible.
We spend a lot of time making it complicated--
As I prepared for ministry, I was directed to develop a "philosophy of ministry." This was to be a kind of road map of how I saw ministry in my life and in the church. I gained a lot from doing this . . . and then by philosophy of ministry met the real world of ministry. Was I headed in the right direction? Am I doing this in the right way? What comes next? I needed to remind myself: "All I know to do is to light the candle that has been given to me."
Life pulls us in lots of different directions. We devote ourselves to the important tasks like family, work and doing good. And it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture when we are working through all the details. We need to remind ourselves: "All I know to do is to light the candle that has been give to me."
We make ourselves important. Sometimes we begin to think that it won't come out right unless we take care of it. And when things don't go right we get frustrated, burned out or angry. It's time to remember: "All I know to do is to light the candle that has been given to me."
Bringing light into the world is what God has called us to do:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Mt 5:14-16
Let's go light some candles.