In the car today I heard someone say on the radio with regard to the cardinals gathering in Rome to elect a new pope, “This is the most important thing these cardinals will ever do.”
And I wondered about that.
I understand the context and what the quoted meant to convey. But I wondered if he or they really believe that. These cardinals were no doubt once ordinary parish priests doing ordinary parish work. Is the work of electing a pope more momentous than what pastors perform in their own parish environments every day? Something tells me that it is not.
I rather suspect that the most important thing that any of us ever may do will not be known to us. Perhaps that word idly but fitly spoken settles upon another like an “apple of gold in a setting of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) Perhaps that act of hospitality easily carried out by us sets a guest thinking about Jesus. We can’t know the importance of our acts.
A college professor changed the tenor and direction of my life by listening to me one day and then recommending a good book. Probably not the most important thing he ever did, but something of great importance in my life and something the impact of which he could never have imagined.
As I said, I suspect that the most important things that we do in our lives are never quite known to us but come about not because we have achieved a place of prominence but because while being faithful in our callings God opens up a door of influence.
And we may never know what he will do with that faithfulness.