Vicars always want everyone to believe they’re always available to do anything, anytime. But in private, they admit their guilt because they cannot possibly manage everything they want, or ought to do.
Life for everyone is full of choices about what we do. Each person is different. For some life is so demanding there’s little choice other than to do the next thing, while others don’t know how to fill their time. Trying to be there for everyone all the time means you can’t give proper attention to anyone. If you make a succession of important phone calls, someone will complain that your phone is always engaged! On the other hand, no one should ever feel that there is nothing useful to do – there is a world of people who need our help and attention.
For all of us, the balance is important. Work is required, but so too is time for re-creation. One of the most important gifts of the Jewish tradition is the Sabbath. In the story, even God rested on the 7th day after 6 days creating. But Sabbath rest is not about being selfishly lazy – it’s about letting everything else rest too. In the ancient world that included slaves, certainly it included work animals and even the land itself. This rest is not about being lazy – it’s about attending to what sustains our lives, especially to God. If we squeeze that out of our lives completely, in the end we may find there’s nothing left.
Canon Christopher Ivory