Monday, June 22, 2009

May Our Lives Speak

June 23, 2009

By Beth DeCristofaro

So Abram said to Lot: "Let there be no strife between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land at your disposal? (Genesis 13:8-9)

LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy mountain? Whoever walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart. (Psalm 15:1-2)

Jesus said…"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction…
(Matthew 7:12-13)


May the works I've done speak for me. May the life I live speak for me. Lord I'm leaning and depending on You, if I do right You're gonna see me through…When I'm resting in my grave, there's nothing more to be said; may the works I've done, let it speak for me, (for me). (From the Spiritual “May the Works I’ve Done”)


Abraham was a rich man, rich in possessions but also rich in faith in his God. Henri Nouwen would say he was moved by a spirit of abundance, totally sure in the blessings God had given him. Abraham let his brother choose the best land yet he, himself, did not lose. God promised his descendants would number as the dust on the earth. The psalmist’s beautiful praise shows what this faith was about.

But Jesus sees even beyond, quoting the prophets but warning that God’s rewards are not a cause – effect phenomenon. At the time, there was belief that a good life naturally was rewarded. Jesus told us differently. The narrow path means difficulty; it is meant to be walked with faith even in – especially in - the face of sorrow and uncertainty. But Abraham’s certainty surmounts difficulty. Abraham’s life was for God not for his own riches as Jesus wants ours to be.

Furthermore, Jesus sees how much more plentiful is the dust than even humans can reckon. In Mark’s Gospel we meet a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps." (Mark 7:25-28) This Gentile’s faith, which was as strong as Abraham’s faith, saved her daughter.

We don’t know the limits of God’s love. Jesus asks us to limit neither our love nor our faith that God is ours and that we are God’s.


The “golden rule” is a part of many cultures and religions. For example:

Judaism: “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. That is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary. Go and learn”

Islam: “No one is a believer until you desire for another that which you desire for yourself.”

Hindu: “The true rule of life is to guard and to do by the things of others as one would do his own.”

Even Aristotle had a sense when he said: “We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us.”

What will your works say about you?