Friends Don't Let Friends Go Uninvited

Mark 8:27-38
© Stacey Steck

I am going to tell you the truth this morning. This passage from Mark really, really scares me. Before I tell you what is so scary about it, let me tell you what isn’t. It’s not the fear of the Lord at the recognition that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, as Peter rightly proclaims. You may remember that the term, “the fear of the Lord” refers to a sort of jaw-dropping awe one experiences at being in the presence of God. Think Moses at the burning bush. Think Jacob at the Jabbock River. Our text doesn’t say it, but Peter, and all the disciples, have met God face to face, and if they didn’t experience that fear of the Lord then, they probably should have. Indeed, when we read or hear Peter’s pronouncement of Jesus as Messiah, it should probably still give our hardened hearts at least a little shiver, but that’s not what scares me about this passage. It is also not the prospect of Jesus calling me Satan if I don’t understand fully just what calling Jesus the Messiah really means. God knows that I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, and I’m not too afraid of being judged for that. And Satan generally doesn’t rate too high on my fright meter. No, what really, really scares me is the whole gratitude thing. When this whole episode is over and done with, Jesus says, “Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?” What can I give in return for my life? Now there’s a scary question for you.

What scares me is that I don’t really have a good answer to that question. What are the options? Treasure? Not much of that to go around. Time? That’s becoming shorter and shorter in supply with two children. Talent? Let’s not even go there. How about love? Is the love I give worth my life? Now we are getting to the scary part. What about my compassion? What about my gratitude? Do I have it in me to give from me what my life is worth to me? Or what my life is worth to God? Of course, the answer to all of these questions is no, I can’t possibly give what my life is worth to anyone, and therefore the only thing I can give is my life itself. And that is what’s truly scary, because it means being all in, a 100%, self-denying, cross carrying, life-laying down, follower of Jesus Christ. And that’s the scary truth.

In 1983 in the Unites States, drunk driving was at epidemic proportions, people were dying and being seriously injured at record numbers, and so a new and powerful advertising campaign was launched, the famous “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” campaign which featured the tagline, “Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship.” Years later, follow-up research suggests that sixty-eight percent of Americans report that they have tried to stop someone who was drinking from driving. And by 1998, the accident rate had dropped significantly. Unfortunately, it is on the rise once again, and despite a small decline in 2010, there were still 10,228 lives lost last year due to drunk driving, which is one person every 51 minutes. The decisions people make when they get behind the wheel raise for us questions about the value of life, the responsibility we have for one another’s well-being, what constitutes a life worth living. Do those who take that chance ever really contemplate just what their lives are worth to themselves, or to their families, or to God? Or are they too busy profiting themselves to gain the whole world while ultimately forfeiting their lives?

We don’t have to end up on the wrong side of a car accident to ask these questions. Maybe we just need to end up on the wrong side of the age of forty! But for many people, those questions never get asked. You can find a lot of people near the end of their lives who will describe those lives precisely as car wrecks, as being banged up throughout life in a series of emotional collisions and run-ins with the law due to driving their way through life in a state of semi-consciousness. Like everyone else, they only live once, but the end comes more slowly, and even more painfully than if they’d actually been in a fatal car accident. I’m not only talking about people with addiction problems. There are a lot of ways to go through life unconscious, and most of them have to do with pursuing things that have no enduring value, in the language of Jesus from this morning’s passage, in trying to save our own lives, in trying to gain the whole world. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, intoxicated or not. You know who you are. Or you know people like that.

Let me lighten things up just a bit for a moment and tell you about another advertising campaign. It too is about friends. It is called the “Friends don’t let friends clap on 1 and 3” campaign, and it is sweeping its way through churches in the rhythmically-impoverished areas of the world. It turns out that it is bad form, when clapping to music in church, to do so on the first and third beats of a measure. Apparently, it just drives drummers crazy. To add value to the music, it is best to clap on the off-beats of two and four, so as not to throw off the rhythm of the musicians. Research on the success of the campaign suggests that overcoming the tendency to clap on the wrong beat is actually harder to overcome than drug or alcohol addiction, with a relapse rate approaching 90%. The good news is that you don’t have to sober up completely before getting back on the wagon. There is always another song, another chance to get it right. And there are usually more friends around to try to keep you on the straight and narrow, although they may be just as rhythmically challenged as you. I guess churches will just have to employ some designated clappers. They should have special white gloves so everyone can always see who is clapping correctly if they get out of line.

This is very important stuff to remember as we approach Invite-A-Friend Sunday. I mean, we have to get our priorities straight. We can’t have a church full of people coming here thinking they are going to have a positive musical experience only to discover we are a bunch of constantly relapsing bad clappers. Why, they’ll run for the door before the first song is over. Well, that is, if we would even clap. I’ve seen you people. Most of you belong to that group we call the “frozen chosen.” You think if you clap in church, Jesus will appear and say, “Satan, get behind me. You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” You know, subconsciously at least, that there is a right set of beats to clap to, but you can’t remember which one it is, and so you don’t want to be the only one getting it wrong, and so you sit on your hands. As the old saying goes, “It is better to sit on one’s hands and be thought a fool, than to clap and remove all doubt.” I think maybe next Sunday we’ll have to practice our clapping, because if we don’t get it right, our church is never going to grow.

Let’s get serious again now though and remember the good news of the Gospel, that Jesus died even for those people whose only sin is clapping badly, but mostly for people who are scared to death that they don’t measure up to what Jesus asks of them, that they are not strong enough to carry their cross or committed enough to give their lives for the cause, or who go through life in a drunken stupor or a state of unconsciousness and never recognize the Messiah in their midst. But if those people aren’t here to hear us express our own doubts, if those people aren’t within earshot of Jesus when he calls his followers to himself and tells them the awful truth that he must die and be raised again for their sakes, if they aren’t a witness to the forgiveness we extend to one another when we clap badly, or when we hurt one another, then they will never know what it is to experience the grace the Messiah brings, and that we embody despite all our faults and failures, all our fears and foibles. You see, friends don’t let friends go uninvited, to life abundant or to church. And somebody invited you.

The reasons people will use to decline an invitation to come to church range anywhere from “I can only clap on beats one and three and I wouldn’t want to throw off the drummer,” to “the church is just full of hypocrites.” But in the end, every excuse is based on the same fears with which we do come to church. That is to say that no matter what objection they may present, it can be met with an honest “me too,” that even if it doesn’t overcome their resistance to coming on Invite-A-Friend Sunday, or any other Sunday, it does give them a glimpse of the good news that they have at least one friend in the world who cares enough to be honest about themselves, and about what faith in Jesus Christ means, and just how hard it can be sometimes, and isn’t that kind of friend a rare thing in this world?

The story is told that at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, when Christians were literally suffering and dying for justice and redemption there, Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to gather his staff around him in the mornings for prayer. And often as he was closing, he would ask, “If being Christian became a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict us?” And one honest Christian, upon first hearing that story, was horrified, and said this: “If there’s not enough evidence to convict Desmond Tutu of being a Christian, God help us all! But now I think he was asking it to keep himself and his staff focused on who and whose they were, rather than just what they were doing. They were not simply leaders, leading an important social struggle for dignity and freedom; they were followers, following Jesus Christ in insisting that God’s reconciling love transcends anything that tries to resist it, which apartheid challenged in insisting that different races could not and should not live together. Without being followers, being leaders was not enough; people had to be able to see and hear them following Christ in their lives and ministry for that leadership to really make sense in the first place.”

Friends, it will be your best efforts to stay focused on “who and whose you are” that will speak most convincingly to your friends. It will be your willingness to follow, and live with the uneasiness of your imperfections, that will be the best example. It will be your acceptance of God’s grace in Jesus Christ which will make theirs seem possible too. All of that is your invitation to them, on an everyday basis, your life and witness. But there came a day when Jesus pointedly asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” and then, “Who do you say that I am?” and challenged them to accept the invitation right then and right there. Scholars say this moment in the Gospel of Mark is the turning point of the story, when Peter declares simply, “You are the Messiah.” After that, the story turns toward Jerusalem and takes a new tone. But I think it is not Peter’s declaration that matters in that turning point, but rather, Christ’s question, his invitation to join him in the fullness of God’s grace and mercy, because that is what Messiah is all about. Peter answered the question correctly even if he didn’t understand fully, and even rebuked by Jesus in the harshest terms, he accepted the invitation and followed Jesus until the bitter, if ultimately glorious, end. That is what we are asking of people we invite to church, nothing more nor nothing less than to accept the invitation and follow Jesus with us until the bitter, if ultimately glorious, end. May God give us the courage to be the kind of friend Jesus is to us, the honest and faithful kind who invites us to life in all of its divine and complicated fullness. Amen.

And They Told Two Friends

John 1:35-51
© Stacey Steck

I have a confession to make. Since at least 2008, I’ve been living a lie. It was an honest mistake, but I can’t keep it a secret any longer. I’ve had an epiphany and I have to come clean. You see, for a long time, I’ve repeated an untruth about Christian evangelism. Here is the evidence of my heresy.

Yes, for years I have been telling people that it was an old television commercial for Suave shampoo that burned the phrase, “And they told two friends” into our collective consciousness. But as you can see, it was, in fact, Faberge. I repent, Lord! Maybe you can find it in your hearts to forgive me if I tell you that the Suave commercial from the same era was actually pretty catchy too: “Suave does what theirs does, for a lot less.” But no matter how catchy the Suave ad was, it probably didn’t sell more shampoo unless it too received the same “she told two friends” treatment from its customers. You see, the Faberge ad was just confirming what we already know is true: that word of mouth advertising is simply the best kind. And word of mouth is what we will need to reach our goal for Invite-A-Friend Sunday on October 2 of having more visitors in church that day than members. Mark it down on your calendars. It’s coming soon.

Maybe you already know this, but research has shown that 90% of regular church attenders started going to their church not because they saw a catchy advertisement, but because someone they knew, a family member or a friend, personally invited them. Ninety percent. Let that soak in for a minute. Neither famous actors, pretty faces, special effects, nor catchy slogans are what get people to church. YOU get them to church. You and your story. You and your witness. You and your experience with God. You and the sense of community you express. You and the effect on your children. You and your joy. This is what “sells” church. This is how it worked in the beginning. This is how it still works today. We can spend our entire budget on advertising, but it won’t move the needle as much as each one of you telling two friends about why Thyatira Presbyterian Church, that church with the funny name, is the place they will meet God every week.

That’s what Andrew did. That’s what Philip did. Andrew was even a member of another church, John the Baptist’s church, so to speak. He was a follower of John who listened carefully to what his pastor told him. Actually, it all began with John, didn’t it? At the beginning of our story this morning, John is the one who tells Andrew and the other disciple of John that Jesus has come: “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” He doesn’t try to keep them for himself, to make his own flock bigger. He gives them away, practically sends them away. John does his part; he tells two friends.

And what happened? Those two disciples went and had their own firsthand experience with the Lamb of God. And that led them to share the experience. And so Andrew goes and finds his brother Simon, and invites him to come and see for himself. “We have found the Messiah,” he says. And then Simon too goes off and meets Jesus and begins his own story that he will tell again and again. And it happens again with Philip, who meets Jesus, discovers he is the one “about whom Moses and the prophets wrote,” and invites his friend Nathanael. And on and on it went, each person encountering Jesus in their own way, and inviting others to do the same thing. They told two friends and they told two friends and so on. And it worked brilliantly.

There are a couple of things I’d like to say about this method in our own time. The first is that it is not a method for church growth, at least not primarily. Jesus wasn’t interested in church growth. He was interested in the growth of the kingdom. He was interested in people living the way God had designed for us to live together. Elsewhere in the Gospels when the disciples complain that people are doing miraculous things in Jesus’ name, even though they are not his disciples, he says, “let them be.” John shows the way when he lets his own followers follow Jesus. The point isn’t to get bigger to “prove” Jesus is the way. The point isn’t to be able to claim victory on the basis of numbers or popularity. The point isn’t even to keep the church going. The point is to allow people to see those greater things, the hope rather than the despair, the joy rather than the sorrow, the life rather than the death, those greater things like “heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” -- all those things that show us that God still loves and cares about this world and everything in it.

It may not be about church growth, but the reason we invite people to church, rather than just into a vague, if personal, relationship with Jesus is that their best chance to witness those angels running up and down, and all the rest of the greater things, is in the body of Christ, the church. Jesus may not have started a church, but he created a community of those first disciples in which they saw marvelous things, from which they went forth to invite, and to which they returned to nurture and challenge those who decided to climb on board. When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he means come and join up with all those in search of the greater things. Jesus doesn’t demand allegiance to an organization, but he expects it to happen since God has always been found in the midst of not just individuals but the whole people of God. God didn’t appear to Abraham just to give him a plot of land to feed his livestock. He led him to Canaan to provide a place for everyone. God didn’t lead only Moses out of slavery, or only Joshua across the River Jordan, but led a whole people, through them, to safety and a future. God didn’t provide Ten Commandments for how to get God to do each person’s private bidding, but to show them how to live together, that everyone’s needs might be met. In each of these episodes of our history, those greater things were found not internally and privately, but in the common life of all who were assembled. It is to that common life that we invite people still today.

The other thing I want to say about inviting friends is that I recognize that some of you face some challenges. Many of your friends may already be Christians, and it’s not our style to try to raid other churches. Your circle of friends might be more limited now than it once was. You may even have already invited all your friends in years past. For those of you who may find yourself in one of those situations, you’ll have a different job for October 2. Your job will be to do your best to make sure that those new people who do come see the greater things in you, in us. Your job will be to help them experience God’s hospitality and God’s generosity, and God’s compassion, and God’s justice. I’m not saying this to give you a way out of inviting friends, but to make sure those people who do come don’t go away with the idea that we just want them here to fill our seats, or our offering baskets, but that we want them to experience God in Jesus Christ as fully as if it was he himself who had invited them, or called out to them to “follow me.” In the most practical terms, this will mean that you make a special effort to greet and to smile and to wear a nametag and to prepare your children or grandchildren to do the same. It will mean that you go beyond pleasantries to meaningful conversations about life and faith. Do you think Andrew and Philip spent those first afternoons with Jesus talking about the weather? Or about the signs of the times? They didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah because he knew where to get the best olives in town, but because he knew how to describe the olive trees in the Kingdom of God. Think of the time our visitors spend here as the time Andrew and Philip spent with Jesus, as the chance to help them see some of life’s truly greater things.

Let me suggest that one way to prepare for Invite-A-Friend Sunday is to do a little review of your life and make note of where and when and with whom you have seen the greater things, and not just in spectacular terms, but in everyday terms, in ways that you feel comfortable talking about and others can connect with. Like when someone sat with you as you waited in the hospital, or when food unexpectedly arrived during a crisis, or when your child came home with a new understanding of God’s generosity. These are the experiences that will help others see how God is at work here and how they may find their hurts and hopes addressed in a divine way.

For those of you who do still have someone to invite, and I think that really is almost all of us, I want to ask you to think about what it must have meant for Simon and Nathanael to have been invited to visit Jesus. These were the two whom Andrew and Philip, not Jesus, reached out to. It’s true that Nathanael doesn’t make any further appearances in the Gospels, but we have no reason to believe that he suddenly stopped believing that Jesus was the “Son of God” and “King of Israel” as he proclaims. And we know what happened to Simon, who became Cephas/Peter. Do you think they weren’t grateful to those who had invited them? In a very real way, they had a life changing experience because someone else cared enough to pass on the good news. You see, evangelism is as simple as that: passing on the good news of your life. You share recipes and recommendations about movies and car mechanics, each their own kind of good news, and you share them through your word of mouth. How much more important than all of that good news is the good news that there is real hope in the world, and the opportunity to be truly known and loved, and to learn what life is all about, all through this Jesus guy who simply says, “Follow me.” The thing is that he isn’t here to say it these days. Those words are ours to say now. But we need to actually say them and not expect people to read them on a billboard or a website and think they really are a life-changing invitation. You are as much the message as the messenger.

I can’t guarantee that your invitees will see the spectacle Jesus describes, but I can guarantee that if we are faithful to the example of Andrew and Philip, they will see a reflection of that same Jesus in the lives of the people they encounter here. And then they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends. And that’s really the way it works. Amen.

Amputate at the Neck

Second Thessalonians 3:6-13
© Stacey Steck

Tomorrow is Labor Day, and that got me thinking about some of the jobs I’ve had before ending up here. If you count them all up, there have been quite a few, but the one I just might have enjoyed the most was the job I landed as a waiter at Waffle House #489, Clairmont Road and I-85 right outside Atlanta. I worked the night shift, from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and learned that although there are at least as many variations on human behavior as Waffle House hash browns, many of them lessons in deviant human behavior, you still have to serve them all in a timely fashion or you don’t get a tip. Restaurant work is hard work. One of my most vivid memories came on my first night at work when I was working really hard, sweating even, trying to impress both the customers and the company on my very first shift. And, to tell you the truth, I thought I was making a pretty good impression. At least until the end of the shift, when the cook, an older guy named Chuck, came up to me and said, “I don’t care what anyone else says about you, I think you do good work.” As the saying goes, “With friends like that, who needs enemies.”

Well, despite Chuck’s humorous attempt to undermine my confidence, we did become friends and even roommates when he needed a place closer to work. I came to know Chuck as a walking repository of humor. He knew more jokes and quips and one-liners and puns and riddles than anyone I’ve ever come across. But of all the things Chuck said during the time we worked and lived together, the one that has stuck with me the most was his classic one liner, whenever someone complained about some rather vague or mild ache or pain, especially when it came with a hint that the injured party might have to miss work: “Looks like we’ll have to amputate at the neck.” Far from the old saying that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” Chuck knew well that the idleness that really mattered was located in the mind, not the hands.

“For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work,” writes the Apostle Paul rather directly with none of Chuck’s humor. Actually, that may not be entirely true. If we were able to read Greek, we’d see in verse 11, where he makes that comment, a pretty clever and pointed play on words coming from the Apostle’s pen. It seems Paul takes the word “work” and gives it a little twist to suggest that rather than working, as in laboring, they are simply working mischief, what our translation this morning calls being a busybody. It really should be translated a little more strongly, since what Paul is suggesting is not only that they are not working to put food on their own tables, but that they are actually working against the witness of Christ’s table, at which he reminded his disciples that he would give his very body and blood, and at which they found the grace which was to shape the lives of his followers ever after.

This is what was going on. There were some in the church in Thessalonica who believed strongly, maybe too strongly, in the kind of stuff we read about the “end times,” that Jesus would be coming back quite soon, any day really. And these types began to take some rather extreme steps of preparation, including it seems, giving up their work so that they might be ever watchful for Christ’s coming. Some commentators suggest that there may even have been some spiritual one-upsmanship going on here, that those who had decided to stop working were trying to play themselves off as more spiritual than the rest. They were really trusting in God. They really had a keener sense of Christ’s return. And so there were a number of issues at stake. At one level, this attitude was creating a division in the church, as self-righteousness tends to do. No one likes to be considered a second-class citizen, especially if they really are pulling their weight, and faithfully following the tradition that had been handed down to them. And this is the kind of destructive division Paul always tried to make right because he knew just how hard it was to keep the church going even under the best of circumstances. So he pulls out the big guns of his spiritual authority and commands them to get busy and stop being idle.

Now, you may remember that commanding people to do things was not really Paul’s preferred style. When he wrote to Philemon requesting leniency on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus, Paul says, in essence, I could command you to treat him well, because I have that authority, but instead, I am appealing to you. That should give you some sense of how serious was this matter in Thessalonica, so serious that he acts like a military commander. The word that gets translated here as idle was most often used in a military setting to indicate a level of disorder that was close to tragic. The word used describes the state of complete un-readiness, unfitness for duty. And thus the command to shape up.

If that were not bad enough, there is the matter of what happens to the families of those breadwinners who decide to no longer bring home the bread. The lives of whole families and their dependents were being affected, and perhaps they were even becoming dependent on those who were still working, creating an additional burden on the whole community. Who was going to let their brother or sister in the faith, much less their children, starve or be turned out onto the street, when so much emphasis was placed in the early church on the sharing of everything. Indeed, perhaps it was that very aspect of that community’s life that even made it possible for people to think about packing it all in. Maybe they thought they had the perfect situation, surrounded by generous people from whom they could take and take and take. And if that’s the case, as Paul says about as plainly as it can be said, “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” End of story.

And if that weren’t bad enough, there were the public opinion polls that showed the church’s favorability rating in Thessalonica dropping faster than a politician caught in a scandal. Or something like that. You see, the church is, and always has been, judged on the basis of the perception of its integrity to its core beliefs, especially when viewed by those on the outside. So here we have a group of people who are looking for all the world like the very opposite of what Jesus called them to be. With all due respect to the story of Mary and Martha, and Jesus’ positive comments on Mary’s posture at his feet while Martha hurried about in the kitchen, there is also Jesus’ threefold command to Peter to “feed my sheep.” Among this idle group, there was no one turning the other cheek, handing over a tunic, or walking an extra mile with another’s burden. There was no caring for widows and orphans. There was no feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and all the rest. Instead, there were a bunch of anxious hotheads gazing at their navels expecting other people to care for them. How was that going to look to those who might have a passing interest in the church of Jesus Christ? How was that going to fly when it came time for the Roman government to decide which group to scapegoat when they needed a boost in the polls? And so Paul lays into them with his first century version of “Who do you people think you are? Better than the rest of us, eh? Spiritual giants? Maybe in your own minds! Get back to work.”

Taken all together, it seems pretty clear that Paul’s command to work has more to do with the effect of the idleness on the work of God rather than on some idea of fairness. This is not some attempt at welfare reform or getting people off the dole. There were probably already too many people who really could not work for legitimate reasons, for the lack of work, for being disabled, for family obligations, whatever the reason. And so for these idlers to voluntarily choose not to work was just too much, a slap in the face to those who could not work, and to the God who had called them to care for those who really were in dire straits. “Looks like we’ll have to amputate at the neck,” Chuck would say.

As usual, Paul comes through with a punch line that helps us put the controversies of his time into perspective in our own. “Do not be weary,” he says, “Do not be weary in doing what is right.” This is the part of this morning’s passage that rings truer in today’s church than the command to get a job. If anything, these days we are more likely to work too hard than to not work enough. Paul’s people had their social conditioning, we have ours. We feel shame having to ask for help, rather than taking advantage of the generosity of others. We run ourselves ragged rather than risk being seen as a slacker. Our whole culture is built around work and achieving and productivity. Our identities are so wrapped up in it, our very names often reflect it. We have to tell people to work less, not more, to be able to avoid division in the church, and to spare their families hardship, and to give a good testimony to the grace of Jesus Christ. And perhaps for those very reasons, ironic as it sounds, we too need to hear Chuck’s refrain: “Looks like we’ll have to amputate at the neck.”

There is a happy medium between the extremes of the all-out contemplation of the glory of the Lord and the complete neglect of it in our 110% workweek. We will do no one, least of all ourselves, any good by being either too idle or too busy to do right. I think that happy medium is somewhere right around those points of weariness and doing right that Paul describes. You see, there ought to be a creative tension between resting and striving, a creative tension that leads us toward the positive ends of harmony in the church, bringing blessing to others, and offering a good testimony of Christ, rather than the mischief-making negative forms Paul was warning against. These are the measure of “doing right,” and when we get too close to either the point of doing too little to achieve those ends or doing too much and frustrating those ends is when we need to be reminded to plunge in again or to back off a little. On this Labor Day weekend, where are you on that spectrum?

I’m sure my friend Chuck would have at least a dozen new jokes or stories to tell about this subject since I last saw him, but his comment to me on my first night at the Waffle House still seems to apply, although perhaps with a little divine twist. Chuck said, “I don’t care what anyone else says about you, I think you do good work.” He’s right, of course, that it can’t matter what anyone else says about us. If that is our motivation, we’ll always disappoint somebody, either them or ourselves. But what does matter, I think, is what God thinks about what we do or don’t do with our time, our resources, our compassion. Just as in Paul’s time, there is too much at stake in the world for us to deny it what we can offer it. And in our own time, there is too much at stake in the world to think that we, rather than Jesus Christ, can save it, if we only work hard enough. If we can strike that happy medium, we’ll be doing good work, and we won’t grow weary, and we’ll all be able to head on down to the Waffle House, I mean the Kingdom of heaven, and enjoy together a great meal with our hash browns scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked, or whatever other combination we can imagine. Now, that’s what Paul had in mind when he said, “Get to work.” Amen.