Saturday, November 11, 2006

Offering Ourselves...

I know most of you come to this blog to find out about my kids and Debbie, and what we are doing over here. I hope you don't mind my reflections. I don't do them as "teaching" - like somehow I've got this all figured out and am living it (yeah, right) and now am informing you. Absolutely not the case. It is the case that I am writing about the things I am thinking and struggling with. The things that the Lord is speaking to me about. I hope by sharing that someone else may hear the voice of the Lord. I make no pretense that I am any closer to God than anyone else or that somehow I have a direct connection or something. I am just thinking and talking to God out loud here.

With that said...Lately I have been thinking a lot about my own lukewarmness - about my fears, lack of love - all the things that keep me from living the life God wants for me. But, also seeing that it isn't about my efforts alone. Anyway, I was meditating on Christ being the center of my life. I realized that so often I pray, worship, and serve God and serve others when it is convenient for me - for when I have time or am in the mood. It struck me that there is no way Christ Jesus is truly the center of my life if my life revolved around me, and he is relegated to "when I have time for him". How many times have I not prayed because I didn't feel like it or was too tired. How many times have I hit the snooze on my alarm rather than get up and pray. How often have I complained inwardly about helping someone when it intruded on my agenda. Sure sounds like someone who is at the center of their existence!!

Then, I tried to imagine what it would mean to have Christ truly at the center of my life. It would mean that I would pray everyday unless God-given circumstances prevented me. No more snooze buttons, unless it would hinder my service of God that day. No more only-when-it-is-convenient kind of spirituality. It would mean being ready at any given moment to do the Lord's bidding no matter what my "agenda" told me I was supposed to do that day.

If I am at the center, then my will, my convenience, my preferences, my recreation, my free-time, my sleep, or whatever would be first in priority. All the things of God would be relegated to the bin of when-I-can-get-to-it. In other words, the things of God fall into the category of secondary importance behind everything that "I" want to do. Wow, that sure sounds like I am at the center of the universe!!

If Christ Jesus is at the center, then my concerns are offered and sacrificed for his. In most cases, those concerns are the same - take care of the family, love the spouse, to a good job at work. However, it radically re-prioritizes them and especially re-prioritizes my agenda. I make time for prayer, even if it costs me sleep. I serve my neighbor, even if it costs me internet time. I become oriented to him and him alone. How selfish I am! How self-centered I am! I must turn from myself, my desires, my wants and turn to Christ - turn to love!

I read this Scripture: "Brothers, I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship." (Rom 12:1) Here is the exhortation I must heed. To offer myself as a living sacrifice. The Greek word paristanai is translated 'sacrifice'. The Greek word means to place something at the disposition of another with a nuance of offering or presenting (Fitzmyer, Joseph. "Romans" Anchor Bible pg. 639). Thus, I am called to put myself at the disposition of Christ by offering myself to him!!

I must pray for the grace so that my will might be strengthened so I can choose against my own desires, laziness, and agendas. It is only then that I will begin to live the life that he is calling me to.

How about you?!!?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very profound Mike! Thank you for sharing. After meditating on your words I realized that I am very much a person of convenience (I guess I've always known, I am finally admitting it). God bless you.