’s Mark Kurowski reflects on results in light of the Kingdom of God.  What if you are working hard and not seeing “results” when you work in or for the Church?  There may be something more important.  These thoughts and more are pondered in this audio. Please read Mark 4:24-36.

{mp3}B 42 2012 11 Ord{/mp3}, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 6/17/2012 The 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Please pause this audio and read Mark 4:26-34.
    We were interviewing for a position in the University Ministry department at Benedictine University in the fall of 2011.  A candidate for the position was asked what their greatest success was, they answered, “I have come to the point in my life when I have released all the outcomes to God. My success is in serving him.”  Although we went on to offer the position to a different person, I have hoped in my heart, that I could hire that person to a position in the future.  Why?  Why would I want that person so much? I want them because they are close to the Kingdom of God.
    Service by lay people in ministry can be a tough row to how. They are not in power, so they have to humble themselves to the authority and ask permission.  They are experts at what they do, so their insight into what needs to be done in their area at times is more correct than what their superiors can see.  Yet, they have to let it go.  They have to be obedient.  Often, they cannot see what is being done through them because there are budgets to account for, plans to make, and schedules to be interrupted by people who have needs.
    If you think about it, there are many people whose lives are like this.  They work and work and work, but there is not magical moment, no large project that gets done. For all appearances, they seem to be the hamster on a wheel going nowhere. Often doubted and misunderstood, they find a value in what they are doing, but have no idea why.
    Then, one day, on Facebook, in an email, on a voicemail message, in a tweet, a message comes through, “Thanks. I don’t know what I would do without you.” You hear about a person with whom you worked, went to church, or lived who tells another person that your life changed their life. For me, it was card from a young man who never said a word in the youth group I led.  I picked him up.  I took him home.  I think maybe he said two words between.
    One day, I was mowing the lawn and a letter arrived from the United State Marine Corps.  In the letter, it said, “I could write to one person during basic training and I chose you. I could not have made it through basic training without what you taught me in Youth Group. Thank you.”
    The Kingdom of God is like a seed that is sown.  There are no results to be seen.  Mysteriously, out of nowhere, the words take root and grow into a tree where birds can have shade.
    This means that if you answer the call of God, you cannot expect there to be even miracles among those who do not believe.  The reason that the young man was able to make it through basic training is that he allowed the soil of his heart to be loosened, watered, fertilized and open to the Son.  That’s s-o-n.  When the people we serve will be able to hear the words we speak, see the videos we make, remember the cards we sent, receive the smile we smile and the hand we wave, we do not know.  The results in the Kingdom of God are fleeting to the naked eye.  The crop will be harvested once, but not by us.
    We do not work for ourselves.  We do not work for results.  We do not work to create big things and do big things.  We work for God.  We toil in love of Jesus.  In memory and in love of Jesus we gather, pray, take, break and give.  That’s it.  The value is in the doing.
    Even Jesus says that the parables are for all, but only those that (quote) “have ears to hear” (end quote) will hear them.  To hear them means that you have to recognize the one who tells them.  It is by his authority and love that they are accomplished with us.  He even needed to explain to the disciples what they did not understand in private.  We, too, must retreat to the privacy of our rooms and listen for what Jesus says to us.
    Living a life with Jesus is not a piece of cake.  It isn’t even a pop tart at times. People who follow Jesus are often misunderstood, rejected, hated and even may have our reputations destroyed.  If we look at the so called results, then we miss the point of being in ministry.  What we miss is that it is not in the results, but the being chosen to serve in whatever capacity we are called to live.  What we miss is that it is in the relationship with God that life has meaning.  Even Jesus was misunderstood, rejected, hated and destroyed, but he rose up and will raise us up at the end.
    A beloved friend of mine sat in my office the other day and said, “it can be God’s will, but if the people who make the decisions do not hear God calling, then it will be a seed that does not grow.”  Amen to that!
    If you wish to take on the role of ministering to God’s people through a ministry of your church, or through become a religious sister, brother, monk, deacon, priest, or mystic, you must remember that the Kingdom of God is not a Fortune 500 Company.  The bottom line is not the bottom line.  Results are not the focus whatsoever.  It is in the doing that results are found.
    If we wish to succeed in the Kingdom of God we must, like the parable of the mustard seed, say, “I have come to the point in my life when I have released all the outcomes to God. My success is in serving him.”  Amen?  Amen.    
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