Friday, March 12, 2010

Life Is Short

" is never as long as we want it to be, and wasted time can never be recovered."
J.D. Robb, Divided in Death
This line from one of my favorite authors echoes a personal motto, forged at the sudden death of my father when I was 17: "Death may come when I least expect it. Let me do as much as I can."

I wondered if that echo can be found in the Bible; I had a hunch it could not. I found the following:
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7)
Show me, O LORD, my life's end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath. (Psalm 39: 5-6)
The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short
(Proverbs 10:27)
Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all men! (Psalm 89:47)
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonias 5: 1-3)
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:42-44)
I find these all rather depressing because the emotion surrounding each is FEAR. Watch out, be careful, be alert. That thief is out to get you.

There are many more verses that emphasize Eternal Life, the joy of it, the wonder of it, the ecstasy of it. As a UU Christian and a scientist, without hard evidence one way or the other, I don't worry so much about life after death. I worry about the here and now. "The Kingdom of God is at hand." (Mark 1:15)

But here is one of those places that quoting the Bible distorts The Way of Jesus. Because the bulk of the parables in the Gospels--the stories, not the single verses-- are Jesus' way of urging us to live in the here and now, to do as much as we can right now. Do good, we're shown, not out of fear, but out of love.

We don't need to quote the Bible as much as we need to digest it, eat it, chew on it and make it part of our very being. Otherwise, we miss the point.

Jesus rocks!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Multiple and Diverse Talents

It had always mystified Harry that protocol seemed to dictate that a person was allowed only one area of success--if that. The idea that a man might pursue a variety of disparate interests seemed to intimidate those who held the purse strings. Afterall, no one had ever been able to explain why God would give a person multiple and diverse talents and then not be troubled when the person chose one of those God-given talents and disregarded the rest.
An Unexpected Suitor by Anna Schmidt, Chapter 8, p.111
This passage from a recent romance gave me pause, because I am one of those people with "multiple and diverse talents"--and interests for that matter. I've been watching the Olympics and when I observe others with one outstanding gift, I wish I were more focused. Measuring success when many activities fill your time and pull you in different directions is a challenge.

How do we define success? Synonyms might be mastery, pinnacle, wealth, reaching hundreds, single focus, superiority, driven, accolades, awards, balance, inner peace.

How does God define success? Service, love, acceptance, respect, balance and inner peace? Shorter list, different approach to life.

We all have multiple and diverse talents, in varying amounts, and we do have a choice as to which one(s) we choose and which we disregard.

What about your talents? Have you chosen to disregard some in favor of others? How was your choice influenced? Do you think that you might want to realign some of those choices, bring some of those hidden talents to light?

What's God got to do with it?