Being productive

The other day a pastor colleague was talking about how often he felt his day was unproductive, or at least that there was seldom a finished product, a concrete achievement to point to.

In the shower this morning I was thinking over his remarks and how I NEVER feel like that. On the contrary, one of the things I LOVE about being a missionary pastor is how frequently there is a result ! Maybe my previous work experience has something to do with it.

I was telling someone else the other day that I have been positively vetted and signed the Official Secrets Act. It was way back in the 1980s when I had a brief but glorious time as an Assembly Language programmer doing extensions to system software for a military application. I had three months to write a subroutine that told you if a computer user had pressed a key. Three months. To get one little piece of code working and integrated into the operating system. And it took all of those three months, I can tell you.

Most days I went home having done almost nothing tangible whatsoever. My program had run a bit further, I had sent data through different paths, I had pored over a hexadecimal debug listing for hours to prove that my subroutine worked.

It was like combing a wooly mammoth for nits.

Contrast this with the elation I have felt these past few days over :

linking up a brother with a church in a town far from here
seeing a lady come to church who was furious with lots of us last week
meeting with a lady for the first time who wants to know the gospel
sorting out an afternoon conference on reaching immigrants with the gospel
planning a student houseparty

Almost all these things are small things, but every one has potentially HUGE implications !


Matthew Evans said…
Your words 'I NEVER feel like that...' struck me very hard. It made me feel very happy for you, but also sad...
Alan said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan said…
Yes. I am more damaged by my background in computing than anyone realises. I often remind people that I have a huge problem with shallowness but I feel that nobody really understands the magnitude of the problem. I do get LOADS of feelings of guilt though !
Matthew Evans said…
I meant sad for me, not for you...!
Alan said…
Clot ! Don't give way to illogical and illegitimate feelings of uselessness. You are achieving very important things that nobody else can do, working in an area that is so tough that most just give up.

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