Recently, a friend was sharing her work frustrations with me. She has a vision to streamline processes and serve her clients better, but it seems, at present, that her manager has been slow to see the value her ideas could bring. Change, especially when we want it, seems never to happen overnight.
Her desire for change and positive progress reminded me of a book I'd read some years ago. Visions of Vocation, by Steven Garber, is a wonderful journey through culture and work and the Kingdom of God. Why are we here? What is our purpose on the world? Spurred on by her impressive optimism in the face of such inertia, I decided to revisit this book, slowly reading through it starting a week or so ago.
Knowing what we know about the world - with all of its pain and sorrow and brokenness and inefficiency and futility - what are we going to do? Is it possible to resist the temptations of cynicism, to keep oneself from becoming resigned to the fact that things are broken? Is it possible to find the energy to create goodness and to solve problems so life might be better for others?
Scripture talks of a God who has tears (notes Garber), a God who cares about this world and burns in anger at injustice. A God who asks His people to walk with Him in love and righteousness and setting the world to rights. A God who declared that all things shall be set to rights and indeed have been- on a cross on a Middle Eastern hill so many centuries ago - though yet somehow this truth is still being worked out and we have some sort of role to play in our day-to-day.
Knowing what we know, how will we respond? As I revisit these themes in Garber's book and think about my work in the world - engineering and photography and writing and whatever other threads of my life - I am struck by the fact that my life has perhaps realized a lopsided bent towards knowing in an absence of doing. Yes, I have learned a lot from books and mentors and college professors, but I suspect in many ways I have done a poor job of translating that knowledge into action, into true interaction with the world around me. Knowing what we know about the mess around us, will we choose to love and engage? Or will we withdraw, content to stay in a comfortable library of books?
While I do not know the specifics and practicalities fully, I know I must engage the world around me more deeply. I'm spurred on by my friend's optimism and perseverance as she seeks to bring goodness into the spheres of her life.
Will you join? Will you help? This world needs goodness. The darkness needs light and the pain needs healing. By God's grace, let's be a part of it.