The Pastor's Peace - February, 2015
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Well, I have some really good news everybody; I know you have been waiting for it. Jimmy Buffett has released the name of this year’s tour. It will be called the “Workin’ n’ Playin’” tour of 2015. For those proofreaders out there, the misspelling and lack of grammar are on purpose. I am confident they are to indicate the relaxed and easy attitude of this upcoming tour. I also know there are likely as many as one or two of you reading this who even care about the new tour or about Jimmy Buffett, for that matter. I do care, however, and the fact that you have a Buffett fan for a pastor means that you unfortunately will hear about such things. I could have worse vices though, so you should count yourself lucky.

I do bring this up for a reason. I have no idea what the tour is actually about, or even, more importantly, when it is coming to Cincinnati, but I do like the name. I am going to speculate and imagine that this has something to do with the balance of work and play, something that we in the U.S. tend not to do so well. I think there are many reasons for this: Puritan work ethic, consumerism, and fear of scarcity are perhaps a few. I also wonder what Jesus might have to say about it. Was Jesus a hard workin’ no playin’ type of person, or is it more complicated than that? Something we should first ask is whether or not these things should be separated at all. We tend to think about work as this thing we would rather not do but have to, and leisure time as the thing that actually brings us joy. Life, though, is not so easily broken up. There are many times when we hope to have fun in work, and have challenges during the hours for which we aren’t paid.

When I think about Jesus recruiting his disciples, particularly when he asks Peter and Andrew to join him, I think about this work and play dichotomy. Jesus gives Andrew and Peter new jobs. They will now be fishers of men. On one hand they would know great joy in participating in Christ’s ministry, on the other hand this would be no easy task. Was it work or play, hardship or joy? The lives of Jesus and the disciples were both, as is every aspect of our life. For me I feel that Christ, and in a smaller sense Jimmy Buffett, calls me to try to embrace this.

If I can understand that God gives us blessings and challenges in every part and stage of life, then perhaps I can better learn to accept the challenges and embrace, recognize, and appreciate the blessings. If I think that one part or time of my life will be all joy or no fun, then I will miss out on quite a bit, and be often surprised by difficulty. We are all called by God to different lives and callings. Embrace this if you can and know that all of life is a bit of workin’ and playin’.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian