I got to do Wednesday chapel at Bryn Athyn College last week and afterwards I wandered around a few of the buildings finding places to leave our flyers about Bryn Athyn Church gatherings. As I walked past those classrooms and offices, I was reminded of all the hours of hard work that the students, faculty, and administration are putting in each day — work that, for the most part, I am totally unaware of in my daily life.
I am also largely unaware of the daily work going on at the Academy Secondary Schools and even at the Bryn Athyn Church School. I work in the same building where all this great teaching is going on, but the vast majority of it happens without me knowing anything about it. This is even true at a personal level — I will only ever know some part of what my wife and children are working on in a given day.
I feel some sadness about this because I care about all of those people and what they’re working on and what’s hard, or exciting, or interesting in their lives. And I just can’t know it all. And none of us can. We each need to focus on doing our own uses honestly, justly, and faithfully and giving our own work enough attention means that we have to give other things less attention.
I can feel sad about that reality but I also can see it as something miraculous and beautiful. Though we are separate in our areas of focus, the Lord can bring us together in the uses we are all striving to serve. There are so many people involved in the use of education in the couple of square miles around Bryn Athyn. There are the people involved in the institutions I have already mentioned but there are also the homeschooling children and parents, all the people involved in the other schools in the area, and the bus drivers, the grandparents, the librarians, the people offering educational content online, etc.
The Lord can take all of our separate work in many different fields and bring it together into something beautiful and mutually beneficial, like the many different parts of one human body all working together. The reason so many varied elements act as one in an individual is that there is nothing whatever there that does not contribute something to the common good and do something useful. The inclusive body serves its parts and the parts serve the inclusive body because the inclusive body is made up of parts and the parts make up the inclusive body. So they provide for each other respectively, they focus on each other mutually, and they are united in the kind of form that gives every single component a relationship to the inclusive entity and its well-being. This is what enables them to act as a unit. (Heaven and Hell 64)
We can feel grateful to have uses that we get to serve, and grateful for the uses that others are serving, and grateful for those opportunities that we do get to learn more about what the good people around us are doing to serve uses in their fields.