It’s like summer and winter out there! Actually, in my yard that is how spring works. My front yard clears of snow fairly quickly while the back the yard is still covered with snow. After church today, I raked up doggie ‘left-overs’ in the front yard and then grabbed my shovel and went to get rid of the last of the snow on the back deck. Then, after a trudge through the snow, I dug out the door to the shed and brought up the deck chairs. This accomplished I took a rest in the bright sunshine, overlooking our winter back yard.
Life is full of contrasts like this. Today in church the minister spoke about the apostle Thomas. You know the one, the doubter right? Thomas is only part of a couple of stories in the New Testament and is, by far, best known for his refusal to believe in the risen Christ until seeing and touching the wounds himself. That was not, however, the story in today’s reading.
Today we read about the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. Jesus was sent word about his friend’s impending death and when he decided, several days later, to go back to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus his disciples pointed out how dangerous this would be for him. People in that area were just waiting for a chance to kill him. While all the other disciples were urging caution, Thomas said they should go with him and die with him. Thomas was so far from doubting that he was willing to die for Jesus! That, the minister pointed out, should earn Thomas the name of Brave Thomas!
The chores I did today in the front and the back yards, though very different in nature, were both headed in the same direction which is getting the yard ready for summer. Likewise there are various chores, seemingly very different, which are needed to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God. Thomas the Brave went on in his life to bring the Gospel to people as far from Israel as India and his life ended in martyrdom. He did, as he had offered that day when headed out to see Lazarus, literally die for Christ. This is one of the things that was needed for the furtherance of the Kingdom. There need to be people who love Christ so much that they are willing to die for him!
I can’t know my future situations and reaction, but I think I am unlikely to truly put my life on the line in the way Thomas did. In fact, this is not in any way likely to happen to those of us in North America, nor anywhere in the developed world. Luckily for us, we don’t need to die for Christ, we are also called to live for him. So get out your rakes, your shovels, and whatever other tools you are called to use and get to work preparing the yard for the kingdom.