Monday, April 27, 2015

Doing the Will of God

Good Shepherd Sculpture
In the Gospel according to John, we have the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

Now, I don’t identify life with sheep and shepherds. You and I live in a tech information age.

But as more than one author has written, life is not based only on information about God, but also on experiences of God.  Jesus’ audience could easily relate to shepherds and sheep. Ancient shepherds had to work hard.  They had to deal with wild animals and outlaws and rustlers.

The shepherds’ dedication inspired biblical writers to speak about God as a good shepherd.  Thus the psalmist sang:  “The Lord is my shepherd.”  Jesus cares for the weak and helpless, heals the sick, seeks out the lost sheep.  Yes, he does even more: He lays down his life for his sheep.

We may be wondering where are the “good shepherds” today?

I would like to zero in on the Letter of John. The author says God is our Father and we are sons and daughters and as such, called to do the “will of God” in our everyday life.

I believe we do the “will of God” by doing the best we can as we go about our everyday activities, by being faithful to our relationships and faithful to our responsibilities.

If you’re working to pay the bills, but making time to be with your children when they need you, you’re doing the will of God.

If you are overwhelmed by the care of a dying relative, but you try your best to make a loving home, blessed are you.  You’re doing the will of God.

If you happily give your time to work at a soup kitchen, shop for a neighbor who’s housebound, befriend the unpopular, blessed are you.

If you refuse to take shortcuts when it comes to doing what is right, if you refuse to compromise your integrity and ethics, you’re doing the will of God.

If you try to understand things and manage to find a way to make things work for the good; if you’re feeling discouraged paying the price for loving the unlovable and forgiving the undeserving; if you struggle to discover what God asks of you in all things; if you try to seek God’s presence in every facet of your life and every decision you make; if your constant prayer is not “give me” but “help me,” blessed are you. You’re doing the will of God.

If you manage to heal wounds and build bridges, if you can see the good in everyone and seek the good for everyone, blessed are you.

If you refuse to compromise basic principles to simply “get along” blessed are you. You’re doing the will of God.

Jesus calls us to eternal life and asks us to seek the will of God in our daily lives.  May God grace us to do so. And then we will indeed see God face to face.

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