Success is not difficult. Good goals, solid discipline, hard work and persistence will most always get you there.
Being faithful is an entirely different matter. Faithfulness requires a singleness of heart embodied in a lifestyle of love, obedience and sacrifice.
The night before He allowed Himself to be crucified Jesus gave His followers a commandment that we should love one another even as he has first loved us. If Christians would be obedient to this command there would be no question about our goodness.
Most gracious and loving God, I come to you this morning to give you praise and offer you my heartfelt thanks. I worship you and open myself to you again.
Grant me your wisdom today. Allow me to see those around me through the eyes of Jesus and to respond with both grace and compassion. Help me be a voice of peace and reconciliation amid the cacophony of mistrust, hatred and fear.
And most gracious Creator, guide me throughout this day and this week that I may always be in the center of your perfect will for my life. Help my heart to stay attuned to the still small voice of your Spirit, and give me the courage to not only listen but to obey.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit grant me the power to be a good and faithful follower throughout this week. Let me prove my discipleship by my every word and action. Help me to be faithful in all things, both great and small.
I give you all praise, worship and honor. Glory be to your Name, both now and forever. Amen
“A Buddha is not the one who sits quietly in a remote world of enlightenment. A Buddha is one who never ceases to take on challenges, who goes among those who are suffering and sweats and toils for their happiness.” — President Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai International
I would just add that a Christian is not one who claims to follow Jesus Christ but does not love those around herself or himself as Christ loves. True spirituality, regardless of the faith tradition we choose to follow, requires a lifestyle of obedience to the teachings of our faith. For Christians that means reaching out to the poor, the hungry and the oppressed wherever, whenever, and however we can.
Ikeda is absolutely correct. If we are not “going among those who are suffering,” the depth of our discipleship must be questioned. Faithfulness demands that our actions demonstrate what we say we believe. The things we do and the way we live says who we really are and what we truly believe.
Belief not translated into action is not belief. What does your life show that you believe?
I first became aware of Howard Zinn when I came home from my humanitarian assessment trip to Iraq before the Second Gulf War. His voice was one that could not be ignored in it’s opposition to the cacophony of lies and half-truths trumpeted by the US administration for the need to invade Iraq. His fearless attacks against the rampant stupidity being promoted won him a place as one of my favorites.
I was surprised and delighted to find that Zinn is also a favorite of Willie Nelson. As I was reading Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, I came across this powerful quote.
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience….Our problem is that the people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves…and the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
Zinn is right. We are mostly like sheep and far too obedient for our own good. There is no righteousness in allowing evil to flourish and remaining silent in the face of injustice. Never doubt that authority always needs to be questioned, sometimes confronted, and when necessary…even disobeyed.