I have been learning a lot about our life together as Circle of Hope at Broad and Washington from the Stakeholders discussion, both on and off the blogsite. For one thing (since I can see the stats) more people than ever have visited the site this year. That’s a good thing. What’s more, I think care-filled, intelligent and vulnerable comments have been offered as part of the dialogue. I am re-learning what a treasure chest we are. We are people who have applied ourselves to learning the way of Jesus, like the Lord says, ”Every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13.52).
One of the things I’m learning, again, is that there are a lot of little stakes being worked out there. Some people are bringing up treasure that is old, which is that much better for being seasoned. Some people are discovering new treasure in themselves and it is all very exciting. I think it would be great if we could get it all together into a big mining company with Jesus as the CEO. He is actively making that happen.
Sometimes people start using the word “stakeholders” with just a vague notion of what it means. It has the general sense of someone who has a stake in something. They care. They are the people who feel they “own” the organization. That’s a good way to look at it. I use it in a more direct way. Being a stakeholder is like mining gold — like 49ers in California staking a claim in a territory they were sure had gold in it and being crazy enough and determined enough to keep digging until they find it — only our territory is the human “goldfield” of the Philadelphia region. Still direct, but looking for deeper gold, being a stakeholder is like Jesus claiming us and us claiming him back, Jesus settling right into us and us settling right into him, everyone expecting to see glory and digging in until they find it, like He prays in John 17, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” That’s treasure.
I think it would be better if we perfected a big, diverse operation with Jesus directing the whole thing. I suppose we are as far along as anyone in that pursuit. Many people are “digging in” at different levels. I’d say people are stakeholders “according to their capacity,” but that seems demeaning to me – I think we can all make a choice to serve with our whole hearts and not be restricted by an estimation of our “capacity.” We can’t really predict what the Spirit of God might do with us, whether we think we can do it or not.
For some people, capacious or not, their stake really is just dust in the wind, but some are working well with spoonfuls of dirt, others are immersed in the mud to good effect, and still others have learned how to move the dirt with heavy equipment. For instance, some people will read the title of this blog post, that’s a start. You obviously got this far in the text and may have even delved into what’s behind the words. Then there are people who will click the link and go to the BW Stakeholders site. Some will dig in and read it. Some will give of their treasure, new and old, there, with a comment. Then some will go to the meeting January 4. Some will bring glory to the meeting when they speak. Others will listen to others and not feel bad about talking or being talked to. Then many will do something about what is being said more than talk about it. Some will actually lead us to fulfill the goals we’ve discerned. And so on. There are a lot of levels. And I think the sum of the little stakes may be greater than the whole.
I admit, I love the chaos of the whole process of mining spiritual gold. Becoming a stakeholder always invites the moment of creation. I don’t think it is too grandiose to say we are exercising the image of God in us when we “hover” over the new year and then unveil glory by deciding the year is important and recognizing that what we do matters. Whether the stakes seem small or we get a glimpse of all the treasure around us, we are important in the process of bringing life to 2013 and should feel and act that way because God has made us so. It is always a good lesson to relearn.