Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How Can I Make A Difference?

Commit your life to the Lord,
trust in Him and He will act.
Ps 37
With Lent comes increased reflecting on Scripture, and in particular the Passion, and I am no different.  In my meditations I sought and felt sorrow for what He went through, and for what I did to bring it about.  In His great undertaking I saw great humility, while in my life’s undertakings --- well, not so much.
I want to make a difference with my life.  I look at Jesus’ life and see the great agony in the Garden, and then the commitment afterwards:  I will do this; it is will of My Father.  And even as so many around him, citizens and public officials, shout: “This man is innocent!!” still He in humility goes on.  He perseveres in His commitment. 
And He changes the world.
Sometimes I wish I were more like that computer voice heard in many cars.  Someone tells the computer to “take me to the bank” and the voice gives directions to the driver:  “Turn left here; go straight for a mile; turn right here; this is it!”  Once the computer selects the route, it doesn’t change its instructions on how to get there.  In a way, it perseveres.  I wish I could be like that, hearing what I take as the voice of God, finding the path to where He wants to get me, and then just following it.  But no, I am more like the driver acting like I’m the God.  When the computer says “Turn left here” I may be looking at the scenery and not paying attention, and then be surprised later on:  “Wait a minute; this isn’t getting me to the bank.”  Or, despite my firm conviction to follow the computer’s directions I may say:  “Wait a minute; I know a better way.”
And almost every single time, I am surprised when I find myself lost.
I DO listen for God’s will; I DO intend to follow it --- and then I get in the way.  I find that I have to take charge, to change course, to speak out, to hear God’s whisper and then shout it to the world, but saying: “Listen to what I think …”
As if that mattered.
Humility.  The big things God wants to do in my life are His ideas, His plans, and they indeed ARE big things.  He created me uniquely, for a purpose.  And it is so big I can’t possibly understand it.  But I can see what is happening around me; I can pay attention to the whispers and hints He gives me --- opportunities to do His will --- and then I can pray:  “Is this what you’d have me do?”  And then do it.
That’s what Jesus did, and then He committed to do what the Father asked, and He did it.  At any point along the way of His Passion He could have interjected His own will:  “No, the cross is going to be too heavy and the path too long; maybe this body of Mine will fall and not be able to get up.  A better death would be for all the people to just stone me right here in the courtyard.  If I just speak up now, they’ll do it.”  In this way, Jesus could have interjected His will into the manner of His death.  But He didn’t.  In humility, He accepted that the Father’s way was the best way, and He let it happen.
As the psalm says, He committed His life to the Lord, and trusted in Him.
I look at the events of my life, and I want to make a difference in this world --- as I know God made me to do.  But often I think that I’m like Jesus during His Passion:  He was the center of the story, the One doing the important thing with his life.  I try to imitate Him but I forget:  I am not God.  In this world, I am not the key player.
It takes humility to think that perhaps I am only the centurion who says: “Truly this was the Son of God.”  Or, maybe I am the Good Thief, or Joseph of Arimathea.  They were bit players, but still important.  But maybe I’m just meant to be one of the nameless people in the crowd.  It may not seem much today, but they too had a purpose for their life.
“Are You not the Christ?  Save yourself and us,” shouted the bad thief from his cross.  Knowing how I am, I’m not sure how I would have answered that taunt if it were directed to me, but with my mindset now, it probably wouldn’t have been with silence.  Perhaps it would have been with some great show of power, or perhaps some scathing words ---- but I’d make them KNOW how important I am.
But I’m not.  That's just me imagining I am.  I think I often imagine I am more important than I am.
You want to make a difference in this world?  I think you can, most often, by praying to discern God’s will for you and the just shutting up and doing it, like Jesus did.
With humility --- it is His will, not yours.  There’s nothing for you to be proud of.  Rather, let Him someday perhaps tell you how proud HE is, that you did His will, just as He planned it.

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