Being and Becoming!
Conducting is one of the most visible manifestations of leadership in action. The activity is taken from one focal point, visible to all, in front of the orchestra and it clear who is doing the leading. Whether it is in the conducting of an orchestra, the managing of a football team or the leading of a congregation, it is the skill and ability of the leader, in bringing the best out of each individual involved, which leads to success. This role brings great responsibility and will also bring a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
The teaching profession, in particular, remains a vocation – in that it offers the opportunity to ‘educate’ young people, bringing out the potential gifts and talents of each girl and boy, stimulating a developing human being, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. One local teacher went to extraordinary lengths to help a child that had started school mid-term, her parents had just moved into the area. This child was overwhelmed by anxiety, unable to speak and extremely shy. The teacher, devoting time and attention to this child, built up a relationship of trust and slowly over time this child’s anxiety dispelled and she started saying a few words, eventually speaking sentences, and one day she raised her hand in the class and asked a question in front of all the other children. The teacher was overjoyed – not for herself, but for the child and her huge achievement.
Such an ability characterised the way in which Jesus dealt with individual people. Whether choosing disciples or encountering people in need, his capacity for hearing a cry for help, and ministering to a need showed that Jesus knew the potential for each and every person. People grew taller in his presence, whether it was an extrovert, outspoken fisherman or his introvert brother; an anxious Pharisee seeking spiritual help or a Samaritan woman at a well; a ruler of the synagogue pleading for his dying daughter; or a Syro-Phoenician woman expressing a level of faith beyond his expectation. Jesus sensed, drew out and developed the strength and the potential of those he encountered in his ministry. Indeed, nothing is more dramatic than the extraordinary change that compelled his scattered followers to seek to ‘conquer the world’ in his name. The transformation was brought about by the Holy Spirit, Pentecost’s proof of Jesus’ continuing presence and power.
There is in Christianity a proper emphasis on sin as a negative factor, conditioning all we are and do. Consciousness of sin properly forms part of each act of worship in prayer and confession. But respect for, and belief in, the corrupting effect (we read in Genesis) of disobedience to the divine will, should never blind us to the wonder of creation and the reality of human potential.
We need to ask questions about our achievements, especially when seen within the context of a faith which makes weakness strong, turns darkness into light, and speaks of death and resurrection. What a gift of creation is human ‘be-ing’! What potential the Creator has implanted in stamping us with the divine image! What grounds for hope and encouragement lie there!
Life is more than ‘being’. It is ‘becoming’.