Many times when I think of serving God, I envision grand acts of service, magnificent feats like those found in today’s readings.
I envision myself recognizing God’s call on my life, although surely I wouldn’t need a burning bush to recognize it. I see myself resolutely and humbly enduring mistreatment along with the people of God rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin for a short time. I foresee my faith growing so strong that a week’s worth of neighborhood prayer walks would bring down not only walls of mere stone, but the sturdier and unyielding walls built of hate and violence, arrogance and indifference, self-righteousness and self-indulgence.
Oh, how I would like this to be a true reflection of my actions. The reality however is far different. A burning bush is not enough to get my attention. Sometimes a spotlight is too dim for me to see what God wants me to do. I am more often than not anything but humble, and I dispense mistreatment far more often than I endure it. And those unyielding walls are so reinforced around my own heart, it makes no sense worrying about any neighboring community. The disparity between my desires and the reality of who I am is so great I end up doing nothing at all because I can’t accomplish the entirety of what I desire.
Our Christian walk is often compared to running a marathon. Unfortunately, just as I am incapable of accomplishing the ideals of the spiritual feats listed above, I am also incapable of running a marathon. The biggest difference seems to be that if I wanted to run a marathon, however, I would come up with a plan to accomplish it. I would set a goal of running a 10K race. If I couldn’t do that yet, I would set a goal of running a 5K race. If I couldn’t do that, I’d set a goal of running one mile. And if I couldn’t do that, I’d start with walking a mile – that would certainly be better than doing nothing.
Hmmm… I just noticed that the previous paragraph started out talking about our Christian walk. Could it be that the same approach that works for my physical life would also work for my spiritual life? If I would break an overall goal of running a marathon down into manageable pieces, into goals that aren’t overwhelming, and into tasks that could be easily accomplished, could I do the same for spiritual goals? Of course, the answer is obvious even if the question wasn’t. Besides, it beats doing nothing.
- Mark Vereb