“Do whatever He tells you.”
That is the advice Mary gave to the servants at the wedding at Cana, but it speaks to everyone who wants to follow Jesus. Christians should rejoice that the path to holiness is that simple, right? So why is it so difficult to stay on track in this secular world?
We Over Think
It’s easy to get caught up in the discernment process to an unfruitful degree. What does God will me to do, not just with my life, but in the very next step I take? What if I can’t hear Him in my busy life? How will I ever know what He wants? Here is some good news:
God already told you what He wants you to do.
Instead of waiting for the next personal revelation, look to the Bible for God’s instructions. He gave us the commandments, so we would know to Honor our Father and Mother and Keep Holy the Sabbath. He even told us what NOT to do: don’t take His name in vain, don’t place other gods before Him, don’t steal, kill, covet, bear false witness, or commit adultery. In other words, we need to control our passions.
Jesus offered further clarification with the greatest commandment and its follow up: “Love one another as I have loved you. Love your neighbor as yourself.” He told us that we need to serve others and that we should accept the lowest spot of honor at the table. He told us to let go of all of our attachments and follow Him.
If the next step you plan to take violates any of these commandments or goes contrary to what Jesus asked us to do, then don’t do it.
I can feel the eye-rolls across the internet, and I know what the source of frustration is.
We’re Asking the Wrong Question
We know what God is telling us to do. What we really want to know is how to carry it out in our daily lives. We want step-by step instructions, but if we look at the New Testament, Jesus rarely got that detailed. Yes, he told the apostles exactly where and how to retrieve the colt that He intended to ride into Jerusalem on Passover and also how to book the room, but these are exceptions. Jesus never offered us a procedure manual. More often, He speaks to us today just as He spoke to the apostle Paul.
“Proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)
If you look up the passage, you will note that Jesus didn’t even deliver this message to Paul in person but through Ananias. He didn’t tell Paul what to say or where to say it. He gave the apostle his mission and then left it to him to figure it out. So, did Paul devote the rest of his life exclusively to proclaiming the Good News? Yes…and no. Paul went to the Areopagus in Athens specifically to preach the Good News. He received a tepid response. Afterward, he moved on to Corinth and mixed his witness to Christ’s Resurrection with the practice of his trade as a tentmaker, and he experience success.
I believe the message here is to preach the Good News while we do our everyday activities–whatever they are. God wants us to incorporate evangelization into our ordinary lives. Ordinary is good. Look at the Church calendar, and you’ll find that the Ordinary Church season lasts much longer than the Easter, Lent, Advent, and Christmas seasons combined. So, how do we bring extraordinary news into our ordinary lives?
If you are an insurance agent, don’t cheat your clients. If you are a stay-at-home mom or dad, don’t gossip about the neighbors. If you are a family, don’t skip Mass on Sunday for your child’s soccer game, not even if it’s a tournament.
How we go about spreading the Good News isn’t as important as the fact that we’re doing it. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen. They most likely continued their trade as they moved around. Can you see them talking about the amazing things they had witnessed with the other fishermen as they tossed out and hauled in their nets?
Keep Christ in mind as you pick up your children, sit in that office meeting, or pour over your homework. Do your best, and don’t worry that there is something else you should be doing. If you pray regularly and develop a relationship with Jesus, He’ll let you know if He has something specific in mind.
Copyright 2016, Jacqueline Vick