Focus on serving the people of God

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | August 26, 2016

Focus. During these difficult economic times what a person chooses to focus on while seeking employment can tell a great deal about them. If job seekers focuses primarily on finding a prestigious job paying top dollar, chances are they will be disappointed. On the other hand, if they focus their job search on opportunities which allow them to balance working for the benefit of others as well as their own, they are more likely to achieve a happy outcome.

“When you are invited … to a … banquet, do not recline … in the place of honor.”

I recently received an invitation to a banquet. A dear friend is to receive an award for her generous giving of time and talent in “exemplifying … love of God [and] care of the poor through work for justice and peace and respect for all creation.” She is an example of someone who has managed to maintain a positive focus. Unlike the job seeker who is looking for fame and fortune, my friend has never sought to be recognized for what she does. On the contrary, only a very few people were even aware of the good she has done over the years in her work, her community and her church. A competent professional, she has shared her management and organizational skills with several not-for-profit organizations, often working late into the evening after spending long hours at her downtown office. She has never sought the “place of honor” at the banquet. Instead, she has served “the poor, the crippled, the lame [and] the blind” when they had no place else to go. In fact, she has often served at the very banquet where she will this year be honored.

My friend has demonstrated her ability to focus, not on wealth or prestige, but on serving the people of God wherever and whenever there is a need. It really should come as no surprise, then, that this time she will be the guest of honor at the banquet as Jesus says to her, “My friend, move up to a higher position.”
God invites us to dine in the kingdom. Where do we choose to sit at the banquet?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister, retreat leader, spiritual director and published writer and poet.

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