If I work for five hours, I expect to get paid for five hours. If I work for two, I expect to get paid for two. What if we worked for a company that paid everyone the same amount regardless of how long they worked? How would we feel going home with the same pay for working eight hours as my co-worker did for working only two hours? Secular wisdom would have a huge problem with this and a visit to the Labor Board would quickly pursue. But this is God’s wisdom and God’s ways.
We sometimes think that if we pray more, better, or more fervently and go over and above with the practice of our faith, God will somehow reward us and present us with some kind of merit badge. We are so wrong. Spiritual practices have only one true purpose: to deepen our love for God. In deepening our love for God, we also increase our ability to see God’s presence around us, living life more purposefully and contemplatively. What if God chooses to treat someone who has come on the scene of faith later in life the same as someone who has devoted their whole lives to it? Does it really matter? If we have the merit badge notion of faith, we can find ourselves feeling a little arrogant and even jealous of folks who have not followed the same path that we have. We can even see ourselves as the privileged few who have a corner on the faith and fully possess it.
That thinking doesn’t square with God. God is all about mercy in abundance and is ready to take anyone to himself regardless of when they come. He is only happy that they have come home and delights in their return. After all, if you really and truly love someone, does it matter what they will give you in return or what you receive as a benefit? If relationships were assessed based upon productivity, they would lack authentic love. We invest too much self interest in our prayer and neglect to see it as an opportunity to pursue our Lover and deepen the intimate bond we have with God.
When we breathe our last, all that is of consequence is union with God. If my love for God is real, I am going to want to live the Gospel, abide by the commandments, practice my faith, forgive and love my neighbor, and care for the environment, regardless of how much time it takes or benefits me. We want God to think and behave as we do, and in doing so, we set ourselves up for disappointment. God has a totally different agenda and that’s okay.BACK TO LIST