Posted by: wjlayton | November 15, 2011

Much Work, Many Members

We can’t do everything.

I was thinking about that yesterday as I was listening to a conference call on clean water hosted by the EPA.  After an official finished talking about a few general points, he opened up the floor for questions. One woman had a question about Hydraulic Fracturing in her home state. Obviously she cared deeply about the issue, and when the EPA official responded to her question in a way that showed fracking was certainly not his particular area of expertise or interest, the asker of the question was noticeably a bit upset. The fact of the matter was, her passion was clearly protecting the forests of her state from the effects of natural gas extraction. To get a somewhat evasive response to her question from this official must have been frustrating. But one person, I suppose, can’t be expected to know or do everything.

I often wish that I could do more.  For example, I’m passionate about sustainable agriculture (it might have something to do with coming from Iowa),  and I wish I could work on farming issues. The thing is, that’s just not my job. I already have a full plate of issues.

When we get called to the work of caring for God’s creation, it’s hard not to want to do a little bit of everything, and easy to become passionate about so many issues. We want to do it all! Maybe some people can manage to do a hundred different things at once, but I certainly can’t.

Paul recognized that each of us has a different job to do, and none of us can do it all. This is as true about caring for creation and doing justice for our neighbor, as it is about the whole work of the church.

27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?”

(1 Corinthians 12: 27-30 NRSV)

Thanks be to God that there are so many of us who can do the work of eco-justice! May we continue to work together as one body.



  1. So well put. We all have more passions than we have time or expertise to deal with. I often have to repeat the Serenity Prayer to keep it sane and keep perspective.
    I thank God for all you all are doing. Is it ever enough? Yes! God gives us what WE can do. We have to trust that is enough and that others with other gifts will step up and address the rest.

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