I was at two very different gatherings yesterday.
Last night we went to a concert with friends. It was fun - on the surface, anyway. The singer and his band have a tiny cult following and play in small towns, folk festivals, and county fairs all over North America. Last night they were in Alliston, and because one of Ron's close friends loves this guy's quirky slant on life, delivered on a country platter (you couldn't get more "country"), we went too. We were expecting "a cultural experience" and that's exactly what we got. A very down-home-rural-Ontario-country-music kind of experience. It was entertaining. We smiled a lot, looked down at the floor when one or two of the jokes unfortunately went a little off-colour, but for the most part enjoyed the nostalgic imagery this fellow stirred up in us as he sang about things like John Deere tractors and White Rose gas stations. (Remember White Rose? And Supertest?)
The other gathering I was part of yesterday was in Muskoka. It was a meeting of managers who work for Christian Horizons. We were there "on business", but our business transcends the exchange of services for a pay cheque every couple of weeks. We serve people with disabilities and we view our jobs not just as a vocation, but as a ministry -- a ministry in which we are privileged to participate. Although the previous evening had been a time to relax and re-create, yesterday we discussed things like requirements for future accreditation and received updates on agency business. Even though it was a "business meeting", I left there feeling energized and inspired, better equipped to serve with excellence. It's all about the people we support. We are setting high standards so that we can be the best that we can be in their service. We can do no less. You see, there are glimpses of the Lord Jesus Christ in each of their faces. In a very real sense, it's Him we're ministering to, since his presence is evident somewhere, in varying degrees, in every single one of their lives.
Eric Liddel was an Olympic runner, whose story of competing in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, is depicted in the movie "Chariots of Fire". He expressed the inner joy he felt that kept him on the track and headed for world-class competition. "When I run, I feel God's pleasure," he said.
In that manager's meeting yesterday, I felt God's pleasure, even though it was 'work'. Work? I have to pinch myself sometimes. I just can't believe I get to do what I get to do and get a pay cheque for it!
I was part of two gatherings yesterday, and experienced two kinds of pleasure. Whether I get paid for it or not, hands down, I'll take God's pleasure anytime.