Monday, May 26, 2014

Small Things Done with Great Love

Little things done with great love will change the world. It is a concept borrowed from the life of Mother Teresa; the idea that the little things we do are what make a real impact rather than the big things we do on occasion. It is the idea that the real heroes of our lives are not just those who in moments of bravery act selflessly, but those who act selflessly day-by-day.

In the mundane get-by-world there are a thousand little decisions we make every day about our responses to others. Responses that communicate love and value or communicate disappointment, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction. It is that moment when grace and mercy call us to reflect on the way we disappointment with our own short-comings and to recognize that any grace and mercy we extend is just something we loan because we will inevitably need it back.

Jesus’ example reminds us that he first loved us. That was why he came to give his life as a ransom, a task which first meant living a mortal life in which he died to himself every day on his way to the cross and to perfection. His everyday little deeds made him perfect, that we might be forgiven. See how little deeds done with great love did indeed change the world?    

Monday, May 19, 2014

Well! Aren't We Just So Spiritual

It has become a popular buzz-word like phrase to say: I am a spiritual person not a religious person. When I first heard it I liked the phrase  because the real definition of religion means what we do regularly, and spiritual spoke to me of being a person led by the spirit of God. Sadly, it soon became clear to me that what people really meant was some kind of private warm-fuzzy emotions associated with supernatural events and religious cultures. There is nothing wrong with that except that it really obfuscates (confuses) the subject. (I couldn’t leave that one alone). 

When I said that I was a spiritual person, what I meant was that I was living my life by the Spirit of God rather than something else (religious practice, carnality, etc). The concept of being spiritual meant that I was trying to live my life so that I would be full of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. These are what the Bible call the evidence of being spiritual or the fruit of the Spirit. The list does not sound very supernatural but the evidence does speak for itself. If you live like that no one will be surprised to find out that you are a spiritual person even if you never talk about supernatural beings or events. 

So what evidence do those around you see of your being a spiritual person? 

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Loads and the Burdens

Many are familiar with the story of the loaves and the fishes but few are acquainted with the loads and the burdens and it may be every bit as important to our spiritual well-being as the miracles but for many of us would be tantamount to food multiplying if they knew this lesson (or at least the multiplication of your time).  What am I talking about? I am talking about healthy boundaries and knowing when to say, yes, and when to say, no. How do we as servant-hearted people know what is healthy service and what is too much?

The answer for us is in Galatians 6, where the Apostle Paul tells us bear one another’s burdens but then he advises but everyone must carry their own load. Its not always that clear to us what the Apostle means because words like burden and load are so fluid in our society. But it goes something like this, loads are the everyday responsibilities that we all need to take care of ourselves. If you do not eat, if you do not get dressed, get up for work or any of those normal activities that everyone has to do, that’s your problem, not mine. On the other hand, if you have suddenly become disabled, had tragedy befall you, or had some kind of crouching burden put on you, the call on the community of Christ is to help you get out from under that overloading burden until it either passes or life can be readjusted to make the new life situation less overwhelming and less crushing.  

Now, when we are helping those whose life has suddenly been crushed by tragedy or sudden illness it may be that the best way we can help is to take care of some of those daily loads that are otherwise normal so that the person in the tragedy can process their burden. So then I can step in and cook meals, run to the grocery store, mow the grass probably easier than I can go to the doctor, go to the lawyer or anything else like that. I come alongside in those moments and I do what I can to ease the weight of the burden. Chances are I cannot fix the problem but I can make it easier for you to get through it. 

So, if your friend, neighbor or family member is crushed by the extremes of life then we are called to bear their burdens just as Christ bore our burdens at Calvary. But if those same persons can’t seem to live without you, I have good news. You are not the Messiah; that would be Jesus Christ, and since he does not rescue them from life’s load, neither should you.