The Missing Assignment

1 Thessalonians 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

I have a confession. I absolutely revel in one today’s new technologies – the online gradebook. I become a secret agent as stealthily logon, speedily scan grades and silently record in my spybook (okay it’s really my iPhone) any issues that need to be addressed with my kids. Occasionally though, I come across a grade that takes me aback because instead of a number or a letter, it’s an asterisk*. This means the assignment is missing. There are many reasons my child might be missing her assignment. She could have been absent that day. She could have omitted her name from the paper or even just failed to turn it in. When I see that asterisk though I wonder - Is there any assignment God’s given me that I am missing? I am confident there is no heavenly logbook containing my assignments, and certainly my gracious God doesn’t record a grade but does He sometimes call me to tasks that I fail to complete?

In Luke 14:16-24 Jesus tells the story of man who was having a banquet. Initially, he invites all his friends (verses 16-20) but they offer a number of excuses why they can’t come. One is busy with a field, another is buying some oxen and a third is recently married. This causes me to conclude that the first reason I fail to complete God’s assignments are because of excuses I offer Him:

  • I’m busy with the fields – Whether the soccer field or the cheer gymnasium, there always seems to be a “field” needing my attention. Sometimes I offer up the excuse that I’m simply too involved in activities. These activities might be good and even profitable but if they are preventing my doing God’s activities, perhaps my fields need to be a bit smaller.
  • I’m busy buying oxen – I personally haven’t purchased any beast of burden recently but do find myself bogged down with errands, tasks, obligations and the basic busyness of life. At those times my life communicates to God that what He asks of me just doesn’t fit within my agenda.
  • I’m busy getting married – Now I am long since married and have four daughters as evidence, but there are many times when loads of laundry, dinners, bake sales, homework, cleaning, shuttling and serving seemingly take up all my time. Certainly God understands if I use my family as my excuse, right? Okay maybe not.

Next in this story the master sends out his servant to gather the “poor, crippled, the blind and the lame” to attend the festivities (verse 21). Surely these people felt completely unworthy and unequipped to attend such a grand affair. Questions like, “Do I have the appropriate attire? And “Will anyone notice my disability?” likely plagued their minds. The second reason I sometimes ignore God’s assignment for me is because I let doubt, fear, insecurity or past failures cripple me. When I focus on what I perceive as my limitations, I only really limit my opportunity to complete God’s work.

Finally, the host sends forth his assistant to the country roads to invite those even far away to travel to the celebration (verses 22-23). No doubt this required great sacrifice on their part for these guests to attend. They may have traveled over tough terrain, with poor transportation and likely at a great expense to come to the feast. The last reason I at times miss God’s assignment is because I count the personal cost too high and allow selfishness to prevent me from carrying out God’s calling.

I don’t want to miss even one moment of what the Master has for me. Therefore, I must cling instead to the promise he gives in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it”. When I set aside my excuses, my insecurities and my selfishness, I find He is able to fulfill what He has asked me to do. In the story of my life Lord, may I have no asterisks but instead pages filled with your faithfulness to accomplish whatever you led me to do that day.