Sunday, February 8, 2015

Left Hand/Right Hand

We are told by Jesus to keep our good deeds secret, to not even let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. One consequence of this is that while the Church's sins are very visible, and well-known, the good the Church does is, mostly, hidden.

Most of the work I do is done in secret. It has to be, as it involves the most personal lives of people. I cannot tell you even the edge of the hardest work I've ever done in ministry. It involves people at their lowest, their most-suffering, and their most sinful. How often have people of faith spoken Truth, Love and Hope into the most painful of situations? How often has wisdom been given that is only possible because of a long-standing relationship with the Bible? I've been able to help people in ways beyond my abilities thanks to God and His Church. And the opportunities to help are there because people know to go to God's home when things get rough.

The good we do is not to be measured by our outreach budget. You pay your priest or preacher not for a good sermon on Sunday, but to be there and to be able to do what few other people can do when a person has lost all sense of hope and meaning because of suffering and sin. And it isn't just professional ministries, it is primarily NOT professional ministers. The parishioners of a church help each other in ways few others inside or outside the church can possibly know.

The Church's sins are rightly called to account. We cannot excuse the actions we do publicly with the good we have done privately. But when evaluating the overall good the church does, it is important to remember that most of it you don't see. You cannot see, lest we violate our very call to serve others, with the left hand not even knowing what the right hand is doing.

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