Study: When have I embraced a project or task and truly made it my own? When have I poured my heart into something?
Pray: Ask the Lord a simple question: where am I invited to grow and change?
Serve: Is there a situation or opportunity in my life right now that will help me grow in new ways? Is there some way I can share my life?
Two students walked in to a class on the first day of the semester. The room was filled but they found a couple of chairs up front and sat through the opening remarks of the professor. As the class progressed both took copious notes and carefully followed the lecture. When the class was done, both waited to speak with the teacher.
The first said, “I need this class to graduate. Can you recommend what I need to focus on to get a good grade?” The professor nodded and wrote down a list of extra resources to study.
The second said, “I love this topic! Can you recommend anything I can read to learn more?” The professor smiled, pointed to the first student, and said, “Copy that list – and enjoy it!”
Point: have you ever noticed the difference between something you felt you had to do and something that you wanted to do? The first is an obligation; the second is a conviction.
So…how would you describe your faith?
Jesus speaks to a number of points in the Gospel of Matthew today, and in every case the Lord invites us to move from the obligation of the law to a new level of intensity – to embrace His words as a fundamental conviction that inspires us toward God and one another.
Do we consider our discipleship as something we have to carry out? Do we need a “good grade” to tow the line and get to heaven? Do we see our lives as completing a list of tasks?
Or are we disciples who look for new ways we grow? Do we seek to be transformed – to become something more – to open our hearts to the journey that happens when we let God completely into our lives?
It is this radical growth that can challenge us. Following Christ requires us to set aside our prejudices and presuppositions and be guided by the desire to be like Jesus. We will be asked to change, transform, grow, and allow our lives to be directed by the Lord.
Back to those students…both got good grades. But the first promptly forgot the class and never used it again. The second found the course interesting, moving, and planned a career and life decisions around the material.
How about us? Will our faith be something that is just a small part of our life, or will it be something that inspires and illuminates it? The first is an obligation we fulfill; the second is a way of life that brings God’s life to ourselves and those around us.