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The Work of the Christian

“For the Christian, there is only one task to accomplish but an infinite number of ways to do so.”

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In 1947 a book was published that collected General George Patton’s letters and memoirs concerning his experiences in World War II. In the book he is quoted as saying, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

Every human person has a unique combination of gifts, talents and abilities. When we are assigned a task we all approach it in different ways.

For the Christian, there is only one task to accomplish but an infinite number of ways to do so. There has only ever been one thing to do, one great mission to which we are all called. It is the same mission that John the Baptist answered, to bear witness to Christ. John was completely focused on His mission as the herald of the Messiah. John’s life only made sense in service to another. When that mission was accomplished he was content to give way to the Lamb of God.

But it is not enough for us to merely accomplish the task, we must do so in a way that encourages others to do likewise. As members of Christ’s mystical body we are the physical presence of Jesus to the world. We are each called to be a light to others. By encouraging others to use their gifts in this great mission, God’s salvation is made known to the ends of the earth.

How we do this will be different according to each individual’s unique gifts, talents and ingenuity. We are all called to the same mission, but each one of us is called in a unique way that only he or she can fulfill, a way that will never be repeated.

Think of it as climbing a mountain. We begin by determining that God is calling us to climb the mountain, to meet Him at its summit. The actual climb is a time of formation. We learn how to use the gifts God has given us as we overcome obstacles and avoid temptations. This is a time of trial and testing, designed to strengthen us and build our confidence.

Finally, we have that encounter with God. We arrive at the top of the mountain and gain some measure of understanding. We have a better idea of our role and purpose in God’s plan for the salvation of mankind.

As we descend the mountain, we are armed with a greater understanding of our gifts and talents and how to employ them in our great mission. We return to where we started so that we may help others along the same path.

Many of us spend our lives running from God and rejecting His call. But when we embrace His mission and realize our role in God’s great plan, we receive grace upon grace and peace upon peace.

The things we are experiencing right now, good and bad, are all part of God’s plan to save the world. How we respond to those things is up to us.

Pax vobiscum
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mary, Undoer of Knots, ©Lawrence Klimecki

Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith and the spiritual “hero’s journey” that is part of every person’s life. He maintains a blog at and can be reached at

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