Worship and Sacrifice

Brothers and Sisters-This week the church office is being redone. Actually, there are some workers who are resurfacing our walls. What this means is that right now most everything is moved out of my office and the same with the secretary's office. There is paper all over the floor to keep it covered and just about every flat surface is covered with a fine layer of dust (they're sanding drywall mud). My routine is disrupted! I struggle to get my work done! My patience is nearly at end!

...And then I read the words of Tertullian (third century theologian) that patience is the "highest virtue". The way Tertullian sees this, patience is born out of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which roots our lives in hope and promise. This is a perspective that sees all of life as a journey and we are assured of that journey's end. This patient response to the trials and tribulations of life is very faithful perspective. Practicing the discipline of patience is much more easily said than done, though.

I think life in the 3rd century was a lot more sedate than today. Living a life that embraces patience is especially challenging in the 21st century. Our culture is all about fast and the push to be faster. Slowing down and living patiently is counter-cultural and requires us to think about life differently. I have heard some people refer to this as a human "being" rather than a human "doing".

When we dig this deeply into our lives we touch on our motivations. What are we driving at? What's so important? Tertullian is right. When our impatience leads us to devalue others it is unhealthy. This is a road that leads to a willingness to place the ends over the means and puts my wants ahead of everything else. The thing is-God calls us to something more.

Through Jesus Chrsit we are offered an abundant life in which we see the value of each moment. The motive that is encouraged by Christ is one that seeks to be of service to God and we serve God by serving others. When we are willing to let our schedule control us less, there is room for God to control us more. This is a goal for which we strive, knowing that we cannot experience instant gratification. Patience is something to practice.

My office is still a mess. But, just like me, this is a work in progress. We all just take a deep breath, recenter, and remember that we are human beings, not human doings. 

Shalom, David


  1. I will plan to read your blog more often. And yes, I have a little note paper today with about fifteen items on it, in the category of 'to do.' This reading reminds me of the joke where the punch line is ..."do-be-do-be-do."

    In his life, perhaps Christ, too, sought to find the balance. He didn't write, but instead, he spoke, and he did some memorable stuff. We don't really know much about his own contemplative side. So perhaps in response to this blog, I should calmly relax and consider this life, before I write the to do list.

    Ahh! Found it on the internet! Here it is:

    “To be is to do”—Socrates.
    “To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre.
    “Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra.

    I've always liked that one.


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