Some jobs just never seem done.
We are in that stage of life that children’s mess seems to spread everywhere. Whilst I tend to the ‘do whatever you’re doing and then sort it out before moving onto the next thing’ school of thinking, my children prefer the ‘do everything at once and then decide the work putting everything back where it belongs is too much’ approach. My pleas for playing with something and then putting it away before moving onto the next thing continually fall on deaf ears. It means the tidying up and putting away feels like it is never fully done. No sooner than everything is tidy, it seems to be a mess again.
Cleaning is not dissimilar. Washing up continually appears because meals keep being eaten. Cleaning bathrooms goes on because bathrooms get used. Hoovering is constant because no sooner than you’ve done it people tread their muck through the house. Washing needs to be on a constant cycle because people keep wearing their clothes. On and on it goes. The endless cycle of cleaning, washing, housekeeping and all the rest.
The same is ultimately true in church. Some jobs are just never done. There is never a time we can say we have done all the teaching required. There is never a time we can say scripture has been applied as fully as it might be. There is never a time we can say the pastoral work is over. On and on it goes.
People forget scripture and needs to be reminded of it. People become believers and need to learn it. People sin and need scripture applying to them. People face difficulties and need reminding of what the scriptures say about them. People continually need the Lord and his Word applying it to their lives in the many and varied situations they continually find themselves in.
But just because a job is never done doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Washing and cleaning need doing. Engineering maintenance needs doing. These things matter and, though they’re never complete they are important. The constant and regular attention to these things means that the particular things you are washing/cleaning/maintaining continue to work as they ought.
Just because pastoral work is never complete, just because our teaching is never done, doesn’t mean it is unimportant or valueless. These are the means God has given to his people for their growth in the Lord Jesus. These are the means he has given for the upbuilding of his church. These are the means he has given us to grow new leaders who will continue the ongoing ministry of the gospel until the Lord Jesus himself returns. Then, the work will be done.
In the meantime, some jobs are never finished and always keep going. Which means we need to keep going. Keep pressing on until Jesus returns and says the work is done.