A Collect for Guidance
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I’m in Pittsburgh today to do some work at my company’s home office.
Seeing the way the office has changed in just the few months since I was in last reminds me how many people now work for the company — around 300 — and how many people’s efforts need to be coordinated and properly directed to the company’s goals.
When I’m presenting to prospective clients, the vision is simple and compelling. We help reduce costs and increase revenue in hospitals and health systems. The outcomes are impressive, but for any one hospital, they are the result of hundreds of people changing the way they work, holding one another accountable for performance, regularly reviewing data, and fine-tuning their efforts in order to sustain those gains.
Every single one of those people — in the hospital, or in my company — has their own “cares and occupations” to attend to as well as the organization’s “cares and occupations.” Every single person has to balance their needs and interests with their organization’s.
At work, we are called upon to remember that we are walking in the sight of our bosses, that what we do appears on reports and affects other people’s work and the organization’s goals.
In our personal lives, our desires and plans overlap with our spouse’s and family’s needs, our hobbies and interests connect with our friends’ and neighbors’ pastimes.
At church, our need for spiritual refreshment or our plans for ministry to the community intersect with other members’ hopes and cares.
There’s an intriguing notion weaving through this morning’s Daily Office readings.
Solomon and God are at odds over Solomon’s behavior — he’s been following other “foreign” gods. Though God is angry with Solomon, he can’t renege on his promise entirely or forget his ultimate purpose, so he leaves a remnant instead of tearing the entire kingdom away from Solomon. God’s ultimate purpose will survive this detour.
James is warning his readers over their friendship with the world and their judgmental attitude. He’s asking them to turn away from their own desires and their own ill-will toward others, and to turn back to focus on God’s will and leave judgment to him. If we’re causing ourselves or others to swerve away from God, we need to get back on track.
At work, at home, and at church we face the same situation. We are regularly required to see our own agendas, our own “cares and occupations,” in light of the company’s goals, our family’s needs, our church’s thriving.
We contribute to their success, but we can so easily let our “cares and occupations” distract us from the larger goal.
In what way do you need to refocus your attention today? How will you remember you are “ever walking in God’s sight”?