I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. John 17: 4
Why did Jesus say he’d finished the work the Father had given him at the Last Supper? His suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection lay ahead of him. Even after the resurrection, the work still wasn’t finished.
Why didn’t Jesus wait until the second coming to say his work was finished? Because Jesus did finish the work his Father gave him to do at that point in time. Jesus showed the Father’s glory by welcoming outcasts, healing the sick, and raising the dead. He created a nucleus of followers to continue the mission.
The more important events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday involved allowing things to unfold according to God’s plan—not performing tasks. Sometimes, surrender is much more powerful, meaningful, and challenging than activity.
Why do I find it unsettling that Jesus said he finished his work before all possible tasks were completed? Sometimes, we need to resume activity another day or pass the baton on to someone else or to just allow it to be what it is. Why do I have trouble letting go of a goal—even after I’ve done all I can? Is it Self-will? Ego? Or am I just over-responsible?
It takes humility to let go once I’ve done what I was called to do. I’m only responsible when the ball is on my side of the court. Sometimes, though, I want to leap over the net and hit the ball on the other side, too. That never works. It’s a surefire way to burn out. It also triggers resentment from those I’ve tried to “help”.
I should know. I’ve been on the other side, too.
Having multiple sclerosis, I had to learn to self-inject medication. The nurse instructed me during my first attempt, but I was slow. She took the syringe out of my hands and injected me herself. She was better and faster, but she didn’t help me. She hadn’t done the work she was given to do—teach me to inject myself. (Luckily, the next time, a nurse friend of mine graciously sat on her hands while she walked me through the process.)
Jesus, no doubt, could have spread the good news much more effectively than his imperfect followers–but that was not the work he was given to do.
Our goals may not be the goals God has in mind. Just because we don’t see a perfect ending doesn’t mean our work isn’t finished.
Copyright 2017, Barbara Hosbach