Monday, November 22, 2010

How do I know?

People of Faith, especially clergy, spend a great deal of time wondering about what decisions they should make for the benefit of those they serve and/or more meaning in their lives. Where should I work? What does God want me to do with my life? How can I make my life be more than it is? What can I do to make a difference in the world?

These questions bump up against what we desire to do for ourselves, for our own yearnings, desires, "passions" (if you will). Should I accept a call to ____? What do I intend to achieve in the time I have left with my vocation? I love ___ is it ok for me to pursue that goal? Which cliff do I have to jump off of in order to get what my heart desires?

Dr. Phillip Cary recently wrote an interesting Christian Century article (subscription required) about this vocational topic. Therein he wrote: We shouldn't be praying to discern the Lord's will in our situation; we should be praying to learn how to discern good from bad. That's the kind of prayer that makes us co-workers with the Spirit of Christ, who is working in us, reshaping our hearts so that they will be hearts of wisdom. (para. #23, Sept. 21, 2010).

Cary recalls that Solomon didn't ask God for wealth or fame; Solomon prayed for wisdom, an ability to discern what would be the best use of God's resources and Solomon's own skills for the benefit of the people of Israel.

I can't recall where I was reading about this theme earlier today but that thread prompted me to think about the amount of energy I have been spending on discernment: Where to go, what to do, how to "do it." Ultimately, as much as I would really like to have one - God doesn't provide us a crystal ball for our lives. God does provide us a brain to reason with as well as a heart to guide our path. The Spirit moves within us in such a way as to provide a compass for plotting a course for our pilgrimage of faith.
I believe that each Christian's "ministry" is to strengthen everyone’s else's body, heart, and soul to love God and love their neighbors. The Church accomplishes its mission by strengthening these bonds through its incarnational witness to Jesus Christ’s gospel message of compassion, and Grace. Everything else that we do as The Church flows from these commandments. If true, I'm learning in my faith quandary that vocation and call are not so much about "where and when" as they are about "how and how much." Our Lord (in the sense of Messiah, Teacher, and Guide) commands us to use our wisdom, talents, and resources to offer thanks and honor to God even as we strive to bring God's reign of justice, humility, and compassion into being. Figuring out how to live into that mission demands commitment and trust in our abilities to live out Christ's commandments regardless of time or place.

May our landings be soft and our confidence be strong.

Blessings Along The Way,

No comments:

Post a Comment