Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Are You Giving

Do not love the world,
or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
love for the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
… is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world passes away, and the lust of it;
but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1Jn 2:15-17
I have the above words underlined in my LOTH, and I also have some commentary in the margins.  Those things of the world cited in the quote, carnal things, those are things you want.  But the last line, doing the will of God is talking about the things you give.  I thought the phrasing very pertinent in that the things we want of this world pass away, but the things we give in this world last forever.  Note that both are things of this world, because we are in this world, and they may even in some cases be the exact same thing!  What is different, however, is why we do them:  for ourselves, or for God.
So many environmentalists espouse not taking from this world, not abusing its gifts, but they fall short in really appreciating all of God’s creation, for they often forget to include themselves, men.  God did not create man like other plants, animals, and things of earth, to live peaceably among them, God created man to not just abstain from taking too much from this world, but to give --- as He does.  Man is meant to give of himself to other men; he is meant to make a difference in this world. Every man exists for a reason, a unique reason.  He is important in the eyes of God.
The good things I see on the internet give me encouragement, that there are so many giving people in this world:  the women who love their children, even the naughty ones or the physically challenged ones, women who are giving of themselves to their little blessings from God; the men, the ones in religious life or the fathers,  and even those young adults just growing into adult responsibilities, I read on the internet of the ones who choose to give of themselves, to make that the key priority of their life --- to make a difference in this world --- not for plants and animals, but for other people.  These women and men make my heart glad.  All these internet examples of giving offer me a little window into seeing people living as we are meant to live.  And then I close the computer and the window closes, and I look at the world outside my door.
Some days it is hard not to be sad at what I see.  And some days it is hard to look in the mirror and not be sad at me, and how little I give, and how often I lust after the things of this world that I want.
Josef Pieper in his book The End of Time seems to see an end of the world in which all of us will get all that we seek, and we will all think that this is a good thing.  Some will want all they can get for themselves, and think this is good, and some will want all they can give for others, and think this is good.  And then the end will come, with the many only concerned for themselves celebrating that they have forgotten how to give.  And Pieper alludes that this will be the end of real love for these people.  They will celebrate the end of love. 
What are you giving with your life?  By your gift of yourself, are you making a difference in this world?  When you are gone, will it matter that you have lived?  Every man exists for a reason, a unique reason.  Are you giving to this world a love that only you can give?  Are you making a difference, as you were created to do?  Will the difference you make pass away, or will it abide forever?
What are you giving?
I look in the mirror, and ask myself these questions.  Do you?

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