Friday, October 12, 2012


It seems we always want to make a deal with God. Give Him this much and that should be fine. This is especially true when we do things right that most people don't do. I know as a teen and even as a young adult I was there. I was going to church. I was not having sex. I was staying away from excessive drinking and drugs. I knew most guys my age were not doing those things. So a certain pride develops. Looking back on it that had me in a spiritual rut for a long time. Just assuming God should be satisfied because I do those few things right.

When you get into married life the list changes a bit. You avoid contraception. You tithe. You teach the faith to your children. Pretty good. But that is just the basics. Luke 17:7-10 says:
Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’
What is Jesus getting at here?  Obedience is not something we should see as a big deal. Disobedience is an insult to God. It is like punching God in the nose. If you avoid punching your friend in the nose you don't expect him to be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is expected. Our obedience of God is like that. It is expected. It is the starting point of a relationship. It isn't the goal. Jesus is pointing out that God remains our master. We should still be more concerned about God's business than about ours.

That is the nature of God. He is always going to want more. He is looking to take us all the way up. That is the goal. For us to be holy enough to enter into the life of the trinity. We get a few feet up that mountain and we want to celebrate. There is a lot of hard work ahead.

St Teresa of Avila has this as her first of seven levels in her interior castle. Not just the decision to take the spiritual life seriously but the ability to stop congratulating yourself for doing that. She lived with nuns. Many thought they were spiritual superstars because they answered the call the religious life. But we need to get to a point where that is unremarkable. God calls. We obey. That is what Christians do. It is not heroic virtue. That comes at the higher levels.

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