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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Spending my life away

I was pondering responsibilities as they pertain to our duties within our spiritual beliefs. A recent comment left (here) , led me down this path, which I might add, initially troubled me. As I wrestled with some of the issues related to this maze, I thought about a quote from the Buddhists religion. The quote is credited to Buddha who said “If you want to change the world, change yourself.” Although I am not Buddhist, I find this quote very interesting. I also investigated the meaning and synonyms of words like: Responsibility (which I noticed had three I s’ in it, like when you point your finger at someone and you have three fingers pointing back), Answerability, accountability, and respond. I found it interesting that the dictionary links all of these words together as synonyms for each other.

Based on the comment left here, I pondered the foundations of our beliefs as they pertain to our parents. It seems to me, that every generation is taught something a little different and we anchor ourselves to these parental teachings as truth and absolute. One child may be taught not to blame others and another child taught to take responsibility for their actions and behaviors. On the same note, one child may be taught not to try and change others, while yet another child is taught to try and make a difference in all that you can. I am forming the mindset that it is these foundational teachings that set us on a collision course as adults. Words like efficacy and complacency become rooted in emotional conviction and confused for right and wrong or wrong and right

During a Christian youth conference, I attend decades ago, I heard a teacher tell us that the question you ask your self is the key to your understanding on how to live. This man gave this example “If you look to the Bible and you ask ‘what can I get away with’ you will find only confusion. But if you look to the Bible and ask ‘how good can I be’ you will find many answers.” What question we ask ourselves is truly important

As I pondered these things I thought about the fear and love trees that I have written about before. Are my internal questions based on fear or love? Do I set out to change things because I fear, hate, or distrust them in their present state? Or do I set out to change things because I love, empathize, and believe in them no matter what state. The obvious red flag to me is the word “Change”. I should probably find another word that defines my intentions better? May be “direct” would be a better word. But my mind is always mean to me and it can never be satisfied. This constant wrestling match took me from directing to leading to serving. I came to realize that change is about leading, and leading is about serving. And serving took me back to the Bible. This time my question I was asking was “what am I going to be held to answer for, judged on, and accountable for when my time is up

I was reading in
Matthew 25 this morning, and for those who may not be familiar with the passage, it is the last parables Jesus used during his three year ministry. This passage gives us a few stories about what we are responsible for. I focused on the story about the master leaving for a trip and giving his three servants some money (talents) to work with. The master gave three different amounts to the different servants based on his assessment of their abilities. In this story there comes a time when the master returns and wants an account of what the servants did with what he gave them.

Two of the servants doubled the monies by taking action which held some risk. The third servant however did nothing more than burying the money he was given. This third servant took no risk and therefore gained nothing. In fact this servant was judge harshly and banished. He was afraid he would lose what was not his to start with. As the Chapter goes on, Jesus gives another story about the final judgment. The judgment when God separates the sheep from the goats. Here is where I had a wonderful “insight”. I was taught that we must do good things or we will be judged. But in this passage the “sheep” did not even realize they had done any of the things they were being rewarded for. Should I come to the conclusion that they just did them because it was simply a part of their normal life? Did they just do these things because it just made sense? Could it be that it was “love for their brother” that caused such acts? Where, or are, the sheep void of fear of judgment? Did they just simply care about one another no matter what the other's beliefs were, or are? Did these “sheep” help other “sheep” and “goats” alike? Did the sheep in this story embrace acceptance with no costs attached? Did they abandon all and any form of rejection, prejudice, or personal judgments?

I believe they did. I also believe that the “radical”, “reform”, and “emergent” movements that are embracing who you are, where you are, and giving parental direction based on grace is the closest thing to the sheep in Matthew 25 we have seen since the church of Acts. My new questions for myself are this, “Am I willing to take risk and double my 'talents'?” Or will I ultimately become the servant who feared to invest in anything or anyone?



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