Monday, November 13, 2017

“What We Were Obliged to Do” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them. But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it. But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. (Wisdom 2:23-24, 3:1)

I will bless the Lord at all times. (Psalm 34:2a)

Credit: Jules Lefebvre [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
"Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here immediately and take your place at table'? Would he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" (Luke 17:7-10)

Lord, may I remember that public attention and admiration is not guaranteed when I do Your work and attempt to live by Your commandments. May I remember that Your grace is more than sufficient.

“I need a pat on the back,” I said recently to my boss. After months of avoiding a colleague and a festering issue, I had listened to her side of the issue, explained gently a couple of inside baseball things she hadn’t been aware of, and facilitated a new process that should make life easier for everyone.

I was relieved, joyful, happy… and in need of validation and praise from somebody, and my boss kindly provided it.

But as I sat down to write this week’s entry, I had to wonder to me why I needed that validation and praise. My colleague wasn’t intentionally being unkind; she just came to a conclusion based on the information she had, and who among us hasn’t done that? Further, it’s a relationship that needs to work for me to do my job right; getting along with her, you might say, is something I am obliged to do, regardless of how I might regard her.

But it’s hard, isn’t it? We clothe the naked, feed the hungry, friend the friendless and all the rest… and we look for a little appreciation of the effort from those around us and from God. If we’ve done all that, can’t He just once in exchange answer prayers precisely as we would like, or at least make the second cup of fancy, expensive coffee each day less alluring?

Well, sure, God does those things and more for us every day. But it’s because He loves us… not because we’ve done anything particularly well. May we remember that the hope of eternal salvation and His eternal love are why we do what we are obliged to do.

Don’t ask for anything today in exchange for what you are obliged to do as a follower of Christ.

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