In the fourth century AD, the Church developed a list of seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins. The list was used for Christian ethical education and for confession. The list includes the following: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.
I’ve committed all of these sins from time to time, but this morning the sin of envy seems to be dominating my spirit. While visiting my friend Mark in WV, I mentioned to him how envious I was that he had all of his life’s work surrounding him—his sculptures, his self-designed and built home, his handmade furniture, his unique log cabins, his experimental concrete homes and all the other creative work of the years. These are tangible things—they can be seen and touched and felt, and everywhere you look at Mark’s place you see his life’s work, the results of his creative spirit, mind and hand.
|Monument Valley, UT|
I’m envious (for a little while this morning) because my life’s work (the pastoral ministry) is not so tangible. What can one see, touch, and feel from my 50-plus years of ministry? What can I point out or show of my life’s work, and say, “This is the work of my spirit, my mind, and my hands?” My work has been with intangibles—the impalpable. My calling was and still is to realize what life means and to share that meaning with others. This cannot be measured by results, or by tangible evidence, but I am convinced it is as real as Mark’s tangibles. The 90th Psalm ends with two aspirations. May the work of our hands be established, which means may there be some permanent practical results to our life-work. And may all delightful things be ours, which means may there be a touch of the divine beauty in that work—unseen, unknown, untouchable, but there—always there!